Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weekly Verse: John 13:7



Some days I really wonder what I have done wrong. You know those days when your contact falls on the floor, or you sneeze right after you put on the perfect coat of mascara?  Or what about those days when your best friend betrays you and you are left completely and utterly alone. I've had a lot of those days. I feel almost betrayed by God. And I know God will never betray me, but somedays you really just hit rock bottom. 

The hardest thing for me has been realizing it is all for some greater purpose. This past year I changed friend groups. It was a huge decision for me, but honestly it was the greatest choice I have ever made. During that awkward period before I found my true friends, I felt alone all the time. I felt like nobody cared about me or what I was feeling. Probably the only thing that kept me going was my family and my faith. Ever since that day, when I felt completely terrible, my mom would remind me that it would all get better. Then, there were also verses like John 13:7 that revealed God was doing great things in my life. I may have felt alone and that things would never get better, but I was completely wrong. Months later after all this happened, I have found the best friends in the entire world, I have become the captain of my cheerleading team, I am an Ambassador (Christian leader) at my school, and I am preparing for one of the best years of my life. I know everything won't go perfectly my Senior year. I know that some days I will just want to come home and cry. But verses like John 13:7 are a wonderful reminder to me and to everyone else that no matter what is happening, good or bad, God is preparing me and you for amazing things to come. I may not have understood why I had to go through so much at the time, but I have come out such a stronger and more determined person. I thank God for all the troubles in my life, because they are blessings in disguise. 

Jesus replied, "You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand."
John 13:7

Monday, July 21, 2014

Aperçu

I'm coming off one of the best weeks ever. This summer has been pretty impeccable, but this past week takes the cake. I had the pleasure of starting off the week with my 17th birthday. After a lovely lunch with my mom at Oxford Exchange, I was able to relax until my mom, brother, and I dined at Dempsey's. The biggest surprise of the week came on my way to dinner. My coach called and told me she was naming me the cheerleading captain! I was ecstatic! I was so excited I screamed in the car (Cole wasn't too happy about that). The next day, I lead my first cheerleading practice as captain. I was extremely nervous. But everything went smoothly, and I was able to teach a lot! 


On Wednesday, I hung out with some of my best friends and went out to dinner with them to celebrate my birthday. We had planned to go to Stonewood, one of my favorite restaurants, but the wait was 30 minutes. Ugh. So after ten minutes of indecisiveness, we decided to walk across the street to Olive Garden. Classy, I know. We were all dressed up, in heels and everything, and we strutted into the Olive Garden. We definitely got some strange looks. What was even stranger was our waiter. After questioning us why we were all dressed up, my friend convinced him I was turning 24. I know I look a few years older sometimes, but really? 24? 


My friends introduced me to
 the Kardashian game. I've never even seen an episode of the Kardashians, and I don't play games on my phone, but I am OBSESSED with this game. It's really grossly addicting. The goal of the game is to become an A-lister. I'm a D-lister currently. I probably love this game so much because it reminds me of MyScence and Barbie online games. 


The final piece of my week was getting George Clancy. George Clancy, if you are dying to know, is my baby tortoise. He is adorable! He is also the perfect low maintenance animal. I mean he literally does nothing. He sleeps all day and then occasionally wakes up to eat. If you want a little companion, but don't want to work, a tortoise is the perfect animal!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Summer Reading


I hate summer reading. The whole point of summer is to escape the brutal work of the previous year and enjoy yourself. Well, let me tell you; it is pretty difficult to get the "summertime experience" when you have to read The Glamour of Grammar. No, I'm not kidding. It is a legitimate book. But seriously, who could actually enjoy reading a book entitled The Glamour of Grammar? Well, I guess a grammarian, but that's beside the point. 

Each summer, our teachers bombard us with a series of pointless and time consuming exercises as a sort of impetus into the following year. To some degree, I completely understand. Sure, most students lose a portion (maybe more) of the knowledge they learned the previous year. In order to maintain that knowledge; however, one does not need to assign four books, 2 papers, and words to define. I believe one book, maybe a few paragraphs would be sufficient. I mean let's be real. The majority of students do not start their summer work until the very, and I mean very end of the summer. So, by assigning less work, students would not have to stress out their entire "relaxing" summer vacation, and teachers would have less to grade at the beginning of the year. 

Alright, so that's my little rant on summer work. I, traditionally, am not that big of a procrastinator. If I have a paper due on a Friday, I'll get it done the weekend before. That's just how I manage and organize myself. For instance, I have the majority of my summer work done now, except for a few papers I have to write. But, I know other students are completely opposite. That is why I have composed a list of my methods to getting summer work done efficiently. 

1. Annotate.
To be completely honest, I absolutely hate it. I would rather enjoy the book (well, kind of enjoy), then stop every few sentences to write something in the margin. Even though I hate it, annotating is a major help when you have to write a paper. If you have written side notes in at least some portions of a literary work, it will be easier to find evidence when writing your paper. Teachers love it when you direct quote (and cite properly). But, don't get too quote happy. Just as much as teachers like it when you support your claims, they hate it when you fill up all 4 pages you have to write with quotes. 

2. Reward yourself. 
I know it may sound dumb, but even if you allow yourself a piece of candy after each paragraph or page, you will be inclined to read faster. I mean, who doesn't like a little snack after reading a dull, dry book?

3. Invest. 
I know this can be extremely challenging (I struggle with it myself) but try to invest in what you are reading. For me, it is really hard to pay attention while reading The Glamour of Grammar. One way to invest in an academic book is to read it like a story. Try to not just read the points the author is making, but form it into a story. You will find yourself a lot more entertained this way. 

4. Get it done. 
This is probably the hardest part for most people. Who wants to start off their break from school with more work? Well, if you pace yourself, the work won't seem as bad. Reading a few pages a day won't seem so horrific when your friends are cramming 4 books in the night before school starts up. If you find yourself getting the work done quickly, you can have more summertime!

5. Ask for help. 
I think we all have gotten confusing instructions at least once in our lives. So, don't be afraid. If your teacher makes absolutely no sense in their instructions, contact them. I know my teachers all put their email addresses on the summer reading handouts, but if your's don't, ask a friend. There is a huge chance that at least one of your friends will know what to do. 

6. Do your best.
This is my final point because I think it is the most important. For most students, they change teachers every year, so your summer work is the teacher's first impression of you. Do you want to show the teacher you are a hard worker, or that you are lazy and don't care about your work? 



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Celebrating 17




















It is essential to celebrate with your friends on your birthday. Unfortunately, all of mine were busy, so we had to celebrate a few nights later. And of course, we took a ton of pictures. I love taking pictures with friends. There's something about dressing up and capturing a few shots that is just pure fun. I literally could not decide which pictures to put up (that's why there are a ton). 

Okay, so now onto my outfit. I am OBSESSED with this dress. (I mentioned it in an earlier post) It's just totally different from anything else I own. I just love it! 

Dress: Solitaire(Marshalls find)//Shoes: Kate Spade(T.J. Maxx find)

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, 'Destroy them!'"
Deuteronomy 33:27

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Finally 17













At last, I am 17. I am truly excited to see what this coming year holds. Being my Senior year, I am willing to make the most of it. I am ready to move on, and see what God has in store for me. So, here's to 17!

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer(similar)//Shoes: Guess(Marshalls find)//Earrings: Bella Jack(T.J. Maxx find)
Cole-Shirt: Vineyard Vines(similar)//Belt: Vineyard Vines//Pants: Target
Mom-Dress: Cynthia Rowley(Marshalls find)//Shoes: Kate Spade(Marshalls find)//Bag: Kate Spade(old)

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, 'Destroy them!'"
Deuteronomy 33:27

Weekly Verse: Deuteronomy 33:27


I love this verse because it shows God's everlasting protection over us. When you are scared or lost, God will welcome you with open arms and hold you till you feel comforted. One reason I like this verse so much is because it gives you a great visual. Just like an earthly father, God will scoop up His child when in need and fend of the "enemies" in His child's life. 

"Enemies"can relate to multiple different nouns (people, places, or things). Each person  will have to deal with certain "enemies". Some of these may be actual people, money, drugs, alcohol…and the list goes on. But no matter the severity of your "enemy", God will help you fight it off. He truly is the ultimate caregiver. 

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, 'Destroy them!'"
Deuteronomy 33:27

Monday, July 14, 2014

Oxford Exchange Birthday Lunch
















Well, another year has passed by; I'm another year older. Yay! For this year's birthday, I went to the Oxford Exchange for lunch with my mom. If you are a Tampanian (I think that's what a person from Tampa is called…), or if you stumble upon Tampa, you should definitely check this place out! It is extremely unique and the food is absolutely delicious. I mean ABSOLUTELY delicious. To start off our meal, we had Fried Brussel Sprouts. I'm a HUGE fan of brussel sprouts. They are probably my favorite vegetable. Perfectly fried, the brussel sprouts had the best crunch. For my entree, I had a great chicken dish. This dish was about equal in deliciousness as the Pink Elephant meal I had the other night. It was the thinnest chicken (I love extremely thin chicken) topped with a fresh arugula salad. In addition, OE added french fries on the side. I loved it! 

Shirt: J. Crew(old)//Skirt: J. Crew Factory//Belt: Kiel James Patrick//Bracelet: Kiel James Patrick//Shoes: Steve Madden(Marshalls find)//Clutch: Two Funny Girls

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Pink Elephant


















Last night, my mom and dad took me out for an early birthday dinner. It was SO hard trying to find a place to eat. We searched and searched (online of course) and nothing seemed to jump out at us. Finally, my mom stumbled upon The Pink Elephant, which is on Boca Grande. Online, there were mixed reviews, but the pictures of the food looked AMAZING. So, we went for it. We got all "dolled" up, I put on my very first Lilly dress, and set out to Boca. 

To start our meal out, our very good waiter presented us with cheese biscuits, ciabatta bread, and three different spreads (olive, butter, and apple butter). My parents LOVED the olive spread. My mom continuously raved about the spread and she even asked for more bread (she never does that). Next, our waiter brought out Crispy Thai shrimp. They were similar to Bonefish's Bang Bang Shrimp, but they were much better. They were drizzled with the perfect amount of sauce and they sat on a bed of vegetables. Delicious!

For our entrees, my mom got soup and salad, my dad got Thai Curry Seas Bass, and I munched on the roasted chicken. My dad is a bit of a food critic. He knows good eating, and he appreciates it. He devoured his meal. He even went as far to say that the mushrooms were "darling." Let's just say I've never heard him use "darling" ever. My chicken dish completely blew my expectations out of the water. The chicken was basted with white truffle butter and sat in a Madeira Poultry Jus. To the side, I was treated to some delightful mashed potatoes and french beans. It was honestly one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had, if not the best. Seriously one of the best meals we have had in a while. 

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer (old)//Shoes: Jack Rogers//Fox Bracelet: Pink Pineapple//Clutch: Two Funny Girls

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" 2 Corinthians 4:18