Sunday, January 25, 2015


A few weeks ago, my family and I headed to Ulële, Tampa's newest, premier restaurant. Ulële is a native Floridian style restaurant, featuring many traditional dishes, including a chili that has pretty much every Florida animal meat in it. (My brother said it was delicious!) While the food was quite good, it took forever! The kitchen was backed up, so our evening out turned into a two hour sit in amongst other irritated customers. 

While our dinner lasted a bit longer than wanted, we did manage to get some get pictures. The scenery is beautiful around the restaurant. Right on a Tampa Bay canal, Ulële is surrounded by beautiful water (we even saw some rowers!) and Tampa's remarkable skyline. 

Dress: Vineyard Vines//Shoes: Kate Spade (Marshalls find)//Bracelets: J. Crew; Kate Spade (similar

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Upstate New York

Upstate was definitely my favorite part of my Senior Trip. While the city had its perks, I'm a definite country girl. (I don't like big crowds). I was actually happy to hop on the mediocre tour bus for a three hour (turned into five hour) bus ride. 

Before we left the city, we had the honor to take a behind the scenes tour of Yankee Stadium (A girl in my class just so happens to be George Steinbrenner's granddaughter). 

The stadium was pretty incredible, and it was fasinating to learn the history of the Yankee franchise. 

Being from Florida, I'm not used to the cold. Sure, I've been in snow plenty of times, but never negative temperatures. I have a new appreciation for the people who live through those temperatures for months at a time. Being constantly cold is not fun (ice literally formed inside our hotel room). 

While the freezing temperatures were, well, freezing, my friends and I managed to have a blast! Putting Floridans in snow is like letting a kid walk into a candy store. So many possibilities! Whether it was snowball fights or just sliding down the most pathetic mounds of ice, smiles were always on our faces. (My favorite memory from the trip was a snowball fight)

I am Elsa. 

My favorite place we went to was Lake Placid. As a huge fan of the Olympics and the movie Miracle (My family's favorite), I was plenty excited. We first ventured to the top of the ski jump. Not going to lie, I feared for my life. With temperatures in the negative teens and thirty mph winds, the wooden platform did not look inviting. Also, I am terrified of heights. I mean TERRIFIED. I don't know how I made it up there. 
We love our Bean Boots!

My favorite part of Lake Placid was going to the Herb Brooks Arena. When I said I liked the movie Miracle, I actually meant it is my favorite movie ever. Just something about the American pride and friendships made create the best movie ever. (seriously, you need to see it)

I got to sit on the bench!

So that was my adventure in the state of New York. I had an amazing time, and as cheesy as it sounds, I made the best memories. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New York City

Ever since I was in 1st grade, I had looked forward to the traditional Senior trip to New York. It symbolized age. It symbolized being the top tier at my school. It symbolized freedom. And finally, it came time to pack my bags, charge my camera, and prepare myself for freezing temperatures. 
After waking up at 4:30 (WAY too early), my family and I reached the airport, and I prepared myself to say goodbye for a week. 

When our flight arrived at JFK, you could feel the excitement in my grade. We had all been looking so forward to this trip, and it was finally here. The trip, however, did get off to a rocky start. Our bus broke down just a few blocks from our hotel. We had to wait thirty or so minutes before a new bus came and picked us up. Once we got to our hotel, the chaperones (or chaps, as we like to call them) let us free. We could walk around the city for hours by ourselves. This kind of shocked me. While we are 17 or 18 years old, this was a school trip. The school was liable for us. But, never mind that. 

I loved walking the city with my friends. It's something I think everybody needs to do. There is just something different about exploring the unknown with your tight knit "gang". Once my friends and I went to lunch (New York style pizza of course), we walked around "the city that never sleeps". 

We first headed to Rockefeller Center to check out the abnormally large Christmas tree. Needless to say, it was extremely disappointing. Maybe because the tree had been out for so long, but it just looked sad. 

Later that night, my class attended Wicked. I had seen the show before, but I loved seeing it again. I love the sarcasm, music, and characters. It was great seeing my classmates' reactions to the play. Even the boys got into it. ("Popular" was sung the rest of the trip).

The next day, our class ventured into the subway to head to Battery Park, Wall Street, and Freedom Tower. Battery Park was beautiful. I loved how the historic city buildings surrounded the calm park. My friends and I really got a kick out of reenacting this statue. 

One amazing feature of the park was the golden orb that once stood between the Twin Towers. Damaged from the attack, the orb stood in the pathway of the Freedom Tower as a remembrance of that tragic day. 

Next, the fifty or so students of my Senior class headed to Wall Street and our country's first capital building. I'm a huge history nerd, so seeing this historic landmark was truly remarkable. 

Lastly, we headed to Freedom Tower. I was only four when the attacks took place, so it was really interesting to learn more about that tragic day. The museum is done tremendously. It truly gives insight to the horrors of September 11. It is definitely something everybody needs to see. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Writing With Sparklers

Happy New Year! It's hard to believe it is finally 2015. This year is going to be a big one for me. Tomorrow, I leave for New York, in March, I go to Barbados on a missions trip, in May, I graduate high school (I can't believe it!), and in August, I start my first year at college. It is pretty busy, but I'm excited as ever to start this chapter of my life. 

With the new year, most people try new things. Typically these "things" involve joining a gym, going to church, or bettering themselves. While I'm intent on growing myself (spiritually, athletically, and socially), I am also willing to try some smaller, fun "things", such as writing with sparklers!

I have wanted to try this for some time, and finally my family went out and bought some sparklers (my dad bought 120…). I was worried the pictures would be impossible to take and be an epic fail, but they actually turned out well! 
The trick is setting your camera to the proper settings. I got a Nikon D3200 for Christmas (thanks mom and dad!) and changing the settings was extremely easy. 

Short words written in cursive work the best.
In layman's terms (for a Nikon):
1. Turn the dial on the top of the camera to "S". 
2. Then, turn the dial on the back of the camera to the right until you see 10" on the screen. By doing this, you are setting the shutter speed to 10 seconds. You can adjust it to the length of the word you write. (Longer words need more time)
3. Once you set your camera up, place it on a tripod or steady surface. (I used a tripod)
4. Lastly, light your sparkler and write! (you need another person to press the trigger on the camera)

This is my attempt at a fox!
You need to remember, you have to write backwards, or the word will appear backwards in the picture. (It took forever for me to figure out how to do a backwards five) It takes a few times to get the hang of it, but once you get it, you can do pretty much anything. 

Try having two people going at once to get multiple words or symbols!
Longer names are hard to do! 
My brother's fraternity symbol (Phi Psi)
I hope my instructions were helpful!