“WHAT’S THAT THING YOU’RE DOING ON INSTAGRAM?”

Dear Reader,

You probably don’t know this because you probably don’t follow me on Instagram (I don’t blame you), but I’ve been posting a picture every day since the beginning of 2016.

I have had to use a few throwbacks and birthdays as cop outs,

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but for the most part (and especially recently), I’ve been pretty good at taking a new picture every day. But pretty much every day, I get another person asking me why I’m doing this.

So here’s why:

1. I started over J-Term as a way to basically force me to get out of the house and be social. Miami’s break is crazy long compared to other colleges and I really just needed an excuse or motivation to do stuff. And, as dumb as it sounds, it worked. Motivation comes in weird ways sometimes so I just roll with it. 

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2. I know a lot of people who have done this before (shoutout to Zach–the first person I saw do it back in 2014) and I think it’d be really cool to be able to look back on what I did each day at the end of the year.

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3. It makes me take pictures. I have a love-hate relationship with pictures because I have a love-hate relationship with myself, period. I basically developed a reflex of running from cameras and constantly designating myself as the “photographer” for group pictures, but that turned very quickly into running away from social opportunities and allowing myself to be left out of a lot of could-be memories. And it’s weird that a photo-a-day challenge is the thing that motivates me to hang out with people and jump in front of a camera, but, again, I’m not questioning where the motivation comes from as long as the results are positive.

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4. Social media is fun. I like being able to update my instagram account every day and I like it when people come up to me and tell me they’ve been following my “project”–which is something I didn’t even expect to happen. But it’s weird how many comments and compliments I’ve gotten from people about my pictures–and even my Snapchat stories too! (I have a newfound passion for snapchat.) And I understand how social media can be dangerous and can be seen as just another chance for people to allow themselves to be validated by numbers or whatever, but I don’t care about the likes or the “feedback” or whatever anymore (which is something I’m embarrassed to say I ever even cared about.) It’s just a lot cooler when people come up to me in person and say that they loved a picture or a snap story made them laugh or they feel “honored” to be in today’s Instagram. That’s the part that makes me feel good.

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5. This. I read this forever ago and it still stuck with me as one of the coolest things ever. And I don’t know if this project will last more than 366 days or if I’ll even want it to (people tend to get sick of it by the time the project is up), but for now, I like that I’m finding the beauty in every day.

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I like that I’m telling friends to come in for a selfie or allowing them to take pictures of just me.

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I like this project, and I think I’ll just stop when I don’t like it anymore.

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Sincerely,

Sammy

WEEK 3: AWFUL MOVIES, WONDERFUL PEOPLE, AND 200 FOLLOWERS

Dear Reader,

I went through a lot this week, mentally and emotionally. But upon reflection, I’ve realized how great it actually turned out, and how even the bad things had silver linings. And the wonderful thing about this project is that I get to give the highlights, and I get to really look at the good in my life and share it. And I’m confident that when I look back on this post, I won’t even remember the bad. And I think that’s wonderful.

So, without further ado, here are the highlights from my third week of 2015:

It started off really well when I reached 200 followers on my blog. The feeling I got from it is pretty remarkable and I ended up making an entire post about it.

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Then it was the two-year anniversary of when I got my driver’s license, which is kind of fun to reflect upon. Also kind of not fun, considering I’ve had my fair share of mistakes. But, hey, here’s to continuous learning! (Also this pic is from last year, I can’t get to the one I took this year at the moment, whoops) 

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I also started using a website Opinion Outpost, which pays people for their opinions. It’s not like I’m going to make hundreds of dollars off this site, but I have decided to put every penny I earn from it into my fund for future travels, which is just exciting to think about.

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This week I also accomplished a lot that I couldn’t take pictures of. I (finally!) finished my work training. I shared some more of my writing on WordPress and continued to be surprised with the overwhelming support that I receive. The comments I received this week were so shocking and heartwarming. I can’t even begin to explain how much they mean to me.

I also learned some new songs on the piano, including Piano Man by Billy Joel, and I continued to work on my 2015 bucket list. It can be discouraging sometimes, knowing that it’s been 21 days and I’ve yet to cross a single item off, but it’s because I’m working on the long-term ones; the empty shelf challenge and writing my novels and learning new words and completing sudoku puzzles. But I know it’ll all payoff in the end.

But I don’t have any pictures of those, which was kind of the point of this project. But you know what I do have pictures of? THE WORST MOVIE EVER.

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Seriously, I decided to watch a drama/comedy that starred Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman and got a 6.6 on IMDb–not too bad, right? Baby Mama has a 6.1 and I love that movie!

But what I got was this dull story of a not-so-lovable character, who was part of the weirdest couple ever and fighting a mid-life crisis. It’s called Take this Waltz and I just don’t get it. Actually, I knew about 30 minutes in that I would not like it, but I decided to just power through and amuse myself simultaneously with trivial activities, like learning how to draw (#8 on my bucket list) and writing out the lyrics to Billy Joe’s Piano Man.

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I also captioned the movie and sent snapchats to my sister. Most of them are pretty inappropriate (yes, the movie was surprisingly graphic at suddenly random moments), but I can post at least these:

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But we can’t end on that awful movie. No, I saved the best for last. This has been one of my favorite weekends, and I spent it at home.

Yes, I love my school and I’ve never been homesick in my life, but something was different this weekend. Maybe it was because a lot of my family was in town, or the fact that we got to see my sister dance, but it was truly wonderful. And my sister is adorable.

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She’s 17, but just look at her!

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And I love watching her dance. I’m so proud of everything she’s done–how far she’s come since she started. I actually find myself bragging about her sometimes. I mean, just in this showcase she was in 2 tap routines, 1 contemporary duet, 1 jazz, and 1 hip hop. She was almost primarily front row and she was killing it. I haven’t admitted this to her, or anyone, yet, but I actually got a bit choked up during her duet–which just so happens to be to a song I consider my anthem: Medicine by Daughter.

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, but here are some of my favorites from her years past. 

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And I love my sister, but the rest of my family is pretty stinking cute too (father and brother not pictured).

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Maybe just the girls are cute.

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Sarah and I also took this picture as we were driving around (well, before. Selfies & driving are not safe, kids.) and I realized that this is basically the third recreation of it.

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I guess we’ll have to keep it up next year.

Songs I listened to: 

There were so many that I wanted to mention, so I just made an entirely separate post about it (as you can find below)

Posts I wrote:

WEEK 2: A BIT MUNDANE, BUT AT LEAST I HAVE FRIENDS (THE TV SHOW)

Dear Reader,

You know those weeks where you just have to set everything aside and buckle down to get some work done?

Yeah that was my week.

I worked from open until close twice this week and logged over 20 hours in the four days we were open. Outside of that I worked out, dealt with kind of a personal matter and made progress on my online journalism class–including writing four essays for it in a week (with another one due tonight).

So, my daily pictures got progressively lamer as the days went on. And it doesn’t help that every time I try to use the camera on my phone outside in this weather, my phone will die. Without fail. It doesn’t matter if I have 70% battery left, it’ll die.

But, I will share some of the pictures I managed to capture this week. (Reminder: I said they’re pretty lame).

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How I feel on the days I work from open until close.

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My first skinny vanilla latte–I like!

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My friend took my order at the cafe, so I guess I’m Jorge now?

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This picture (obviously) doesn’t do it justice but my other friend made me the best sandwich I’ve had from Miami thus far. Kudos, Jordan.

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Friday nights get pretty crazy in college, as you can see here. This is taken on my friend’s bed of our insomnia cookies and Netflix, with Friends on the screen.

There’s the real truth about college, kids.

My sister texted me on a day when her high school closed and asked me if we still had snow here at Miami. I sent her this (blurry) picture. 😦

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Then my phone died.

And, lastly, my favorite thing about closing: free brownies.

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There you have it. Not every week can be exciting, I suppose, but at least this one wasn’t a waste! I’ve been making really good progress on my 2015 bucket list–particularly finishing my 2014 sudoku puzzles, learning how to do the splits and finishing a rough draft for one of my novels!

Not a bad week, though the pictures might not prove it.

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Posts I wrote:

Songs I’m listening to:

  • Lips by Marian Hill
  • Firelight by Jourdan Myers
  • Firefly by Ed Sheeran
  • Mission Bells by Matt Nathanson
  • I’m Gonna Show You Crazy by Bebe Rexha

WEEK 1: J-Term, Cockroaches, and Getting Locked Out

My Week in Pictures (I’d like to think I got better as the week progressed)

Thursday

I finished Gilmore Girls, but I didn’t really like the ending! I think it all just happened too soon.

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I also read, ate general tso chicken, wrote a blog post and a journal entry, and foundout that I will be receiving a new roommate second semester–something I was not prepared for, but decided to go in with low expectations and an open mind.

But no pictures to show, sorry.

Friday

Today I finally got myself a good pair of running shoes!

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Then I reviewed Bossypants and finished It’s Kind of a Funny Story (oops, I need to review that soon). I also worked out and just hung out with family today.

I hope I get better at this.

Saturday

My last day at home, and possibly my laziest. Well, at first.

Up until about 5pm, all I did was read and bug Sarah and eat and bake cookies and play the piano. Oh, and I shared a lyric essay and got surprisingly good feedback on it! Another wonderful thing about this website.

Then, my sister and mom and I decided to go shopping at an outdoor mall (Fallen Timbers), where I indulged in some major retail therapy.

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We came home afterward and I introduced Sarah to American Pie and Blue Mountain State (such a good sister, right?). Then we binge-watched a few SourceFed videos–I had forgotten how much I love them all.

Sidenote: I now realize how lame all these pictures are. I mean, this isn’t really a photo journal at all, it seems. But I’ll just have to get better. And hopefully it’ll be easier as taking pictures becomes more a part of my daily routine.

Sunday

Today just dragged on. I was supposed to get to Miami and be unpacked and everything just before 2, and it turned out to be about 5.

But I did get to stop at my sister’s house and see her adorable finished nursery!

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Then I had dinner with Amanda and went to bed around 8 because I was so tired. That was very new for me.

Monday

STORY TIME!

So, I’m at Miami in a hall that’s practically deserted (only a very small number of people come for the extra term they offer in January). Yeah, last night was spooky with all the creaky noises coming from wind and who knows what else, but there are definitely perks. I mean, I get my favorite shower any time I like, right?

WRONG. 

Because today I woke up and walked into the bathroom around 9, got into the shower, pulled the curtain shut, and was just about to turn the water on, when I look up and see the biggest cockroach ever.

I screamed.

Then I took pictures.

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So, because I’m not a huge fan of bugs (really though, who is?), I went into the stall farthest away and took a seven minute shower–which is especially fast considering I was constantly stepping out of the water to look up and over the other showers to keep an eye on this nuisance.

But it started moving towards me so I practically ran out of the bathroom, conditioner still in hair, and into the safe place of my room. But how many more of them are there? And if they got in the bathroom, can they get in here?

Ugh, I really can’t think about it too much.

Then I went to my 5 1/2 shift at work. In the 7 1/2 hours we were open, we had 100 customers. Including the lunch rush.

Yeah, pretty dull day. But I got to work out and work on my journalism class, which was actually fun!

Oh, and I got a parfait from Scoreboard! (A nearby market)

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I missed them so much.

Tuesday

STORY TIME (AGAIN!)

This morning was not bad. I had work at 10, but I woke up at 6, feeling fully rested, and got a ton of stuff done–I worked out and cleaned my room and wrote a blog post! Then I went to work, which wasn’t anything special, but it was fine.

And it had snowed! So I’m walking back, listening to Pandora and snapping pictures of the snow:

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But, no exaggeration, ten feet away from the door to my building, my phone dies. At 60%. Annoying, but whatever I’m almost home.

So I walk up to the door and tap my ID card, and it just beeps at me, and the door remains locked. I tried all three doors at least three times, but nothing. Then I waited outside for a solid twenty minutes and didn’t see a single soul–downsides of J-term and a deserted campus.

And because my phone was dead, I couldn’t call the number for assistance or even text anyone inside to let me in. So I walked back to the library, repeating the memorized number as I went, got on Facebook and messaged a guy in my hall. Luckily, he responded quickly and let me back into the building, but I don’t know what I would’ve done if he wasn’t there.

Don’t you just hate it when everything that can go wrong, does go wrong?

After that, my day went fine. I continued to get a lot done (I cleaned and organized my desk!)

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and I got this weird, but humorous, text from my father.

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I’m just glad that incident didn’t ruin my entire day.

Wednesday

Today I basically worked the entire day. I opened at 7AM, and had this view for 5 hours:

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Afterwards, I came home and got 100% on my quiz, which kind of made my day because these quizzes kept tripping me up before!

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Then, this was my night in a picture:

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Oh, and Jack Frost came!

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So, that was my week. Hopefully I’ll get the hang of these, and they won’t be so long in the future. But, to be honest, these are mostly for my own purpose. I mean, I really don’t care who sees these (and I don’t know anyone who would care to see them). It’s just a nice way for me to keep track of 2015 before yet another year flies by.

Posts I wrote:

Songs I’m listening to:

  • Traum by CRO
  • Honey, I’m Good by Andy Grammer
  • You’re the One That I Want by Lo-Fang
  • Long Way Down by Robert DeLong
  • What I Wouldn’t Do – Serena Ryder
  • Too F*cked Up To Call by 2AM Club

21 PICTURES I NEED ON MY WALL

Hello Reader,

In one of my last posts, Happy List, I mentioned that I love beautiful pictures. I wouldn’t consider photography to be a hobby of mine, but I would love to be able to capture life as perfectly as these people have. So, here are 21 pictures that I need to have on my walls. Pictures that scream adventure, serve as reminders, or are just simply beautiful captures.

ADVENTURE

A1

I look at this picture and I imagine a couple or best friends or siblings–preparing for the trip by grabbing all the warmest blankets and fluffiest pillows and creating the perfect road playlists. Driving along beautiful roads, only interrupting their conversation when the best songs come up. Finally reaching their destination, jumping out of the car, stretching and making the most embarrassing involuntary noises, setting up everything in the back, and just taking in the view, one deep breath of cool air at a time.

A2

The perfect vacation spot–kept secret in order to be saved for the most daring and most deserving. A hidden gem.

A3

Doesn’t this seem magical? I’d love to spend a day lost on the other side of this gate.

A4

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures. I found it a while back and it quickly became an obsession. It’s so simple and clear, but makes me long for open air and freedom and further inspires me to venture into this world. This is what I see when I think of wanderlust.

A5

I’m immediately transported when I see this picture. I feel the slight ache in my biceps as I pull the paddle slowly through the heavy water. I carefully reach over and run my fingers through the icy stream. I listen to the birds as they sing to each other. I’m in paradise.

A6

Another road trip picture. Just a reminder that beauty is everywhere and it’s true when they say it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. A good reminder to slow down and look around every once in a while. Pay attention.

BEAUTIFUL CAPTURES

B1

Elephants are my favorite animal and this picture was taken at just the right time to show all the beauty.

B2

A true laugh and a yellow umbrella.
B3

Just some harmless PDA that captures true affection and love. Another good reminder that adventures are best shared with loved ones.
B4

Balloons being released by the Eiffel Tower. Love the angle, love the color, love all the messages you can choose to associate with it.
B5

On my bucket list. Not only do I want to visit all of these places and take in all of their beauty, but I want to take stupid-cute pictures and just smile and laugh all the way around the world.

B6

Few things are better than a good belly laugh. And adorable children.

QUOTES

Q1

Everywhere.
Q2

Admittedly a lame picture/quote but I kind of love this. Let people hate you or try to beat you or bring you down, it doesn’t matter. Be you. Be nothing less than fabulous. Always.
Q3

I’m a firm believer that we play a huge part in who we become–it’s not all based on society and how we’re raised. I believe people can change, they just have to decide who they want to become first. And then become it. Also: elephant.

Q4

Friendly reminder that you only live once without the annoying acronym. Also, wild and precious are perfect descriptions of life. Let’s live, shall we?

Q5

Map + Adventure. How could I not have this on my wall?

PLACES

R1

San Francisco: the city I fell in love with because of The Princess Diaries. This love has only grown since.

R2

The Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya. It’s a hotel where giraffes just occasionally pop their heads in. Going on the wall to remind me to make it over to Kenya sometime soon.

R5

Glethoom: the town with no roads. Guests can rent “whisper boats” that are electronic and noiseless and will take passengers around the area. Added bonus to being super cool: no car pollution and tons of trees. If anything I’ve got to go to breathe such pure air.

R6Last but not least: elephants. Specifically in Thailand at a Four Seasons resort, where these beautiful creatures just roam around and can interact with guests. You know, casually.

So there you have it! I guess it’s kind of weird to put so many pictures on my wall that 1) don’t have me in them, 2) are of places I’ve never been to and random people I’ve never met and 3) aren’t even my own. But these photos make me happy, so on the wall they will go. And maybe someday I’ll take pictures beautiful enough for me to display like this.

Until then, these 21 (not to mention all the others) will do just fine.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Please tell me you’ve heard of Timeflies. If yes, congratulations on being in the know of one of today’s greatest artists. If no, welcome. Do yourself a favor and check them out. My favorite is Time of your Life, but their new album is just as good as their takes on popular songs.