Monday, December 9, 2013

What a year it has been... What a year it will be.

Looking back at my last blog post, realizing it was just over a year ago, I am smacking myself for the time around New Years when I said, "I hope this year goes by fast." Wish granted much??  Going into 2013 I was headed toward a long list of big changes.  None that I should complain about, but BIG changes, nonetheless.  That human part of me knew what was coming and the anticipation of it all made me look more forward to when it was all over.  Now that it is, it's safe to say I would like to rewind.  Guess that is the beauty of blogging.  After such an eventful year which pushed blogging updates to the bottom of my priority list, what better opportunity to reflect and revisit than now.

The reader's digest version of my year is a list something like this...

- I rang in 2013 with my family in CA.
- Experienced my first blizzard.
- Took a spontaneous mini vacay to Nashville.
- Experienced my first and hopefully last city wide lockdown in Boston after the marathon bombing.
- Graduated from college with my entire immediate family in attendance.
- Endured the worst two summer classes of my entire school career.
- Took another spontaneous mini vacay to Austin.
- Got scammed by craigslist buyers/sellers twice in the same week.
- Packed and unpacked my entire Boston life 3 times due to being misinformed about shipping costs.
- Moved my world of 2 years in Boston back to CA.
- Snuck in a couple long weekend trips to Utah with my little brother.
- Jetted off to Europe for a life-changing month.
- Let's not forget trips to CA every 5 weeks in between all of that to work in the salon.
- Turned 26 and spent it with the most special people in my life.
- Headed to Vegas for one night of wonder.
- Shared the engagement of my best friend/ex-wife (if you don't know that story, you will).

Did I forget anything? Probably. That was my year and just typing out that list reminded me why I haven't had a second to breathe.  Today, I am leaving you with that.  However, I am excited to take these happenings one at a time and relive them in all their glory.  You gotta start somewhere right?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

CA, Meet- Snow.

Today marks the first day of snow since coming back to Boston in August.  Being from CA, snow was obviously so foreign to me aside from our family trips to Utah.  Going to Utah is always more of a vacation so actually living in the snow was something completely new.  There is something so peaceful and beautiful about snowfall, especially when watching it through a window (slight sarcasm with understanding to follow).  When I woke up to the snow this morning, I could not help but be reminded of my first outing in the snow experience last year.

As many have probably heard me complain about before, running errands in the city is not the easiest of endeavors, especially when most of the places you need to go are outside the city and you have no vehicle.  Luckily, my roommates boyfriend comes equipped with a car so when he has days off he so generously let's us use it for errands.  On this day, our mission was Target.  This happens every couple months and when we go, we mean business.  I'm talking two carts full and a hole in our bank accounts kind of damage.  We got all bundled up and ready to walk to his car down the hill from where we live. Parking is a pain around our building so it is a bit of a trek.  

I start walking down the hill in the snow and at first I am so excited, stomping in the fresh powder and just thinking 'wow, I live in this!'  A few more steps and things get a little more icy... a few more and I am slippin' and slidin' all over the place.  This got sketchy quick!  My roommate, Katie, turns around to see why "ahhh's" and "woooah's" are coming out of my mouth, stops me and says, "Chelsey, do you really think UGG boots are a good idea in the snow?"  I mean, I thought so.  In CA of course they are the go-to shoes for cold weather, right?  Wrong.  Can we talk about the fact they have literally no grip on them and basically serve as built in mini sleds on the bottom of my feet?  I suppose I should have known, but never living in these weather conditions before, I moved here and packed what seemed to be a sufficient collection of cold weather necessities.  

After that, I definitely had to rethink my uniform for the rest of the winter months.  I am now the proud owner of some super flashy snow boots with rubber soles, good grips and laces that go up to just under my knee caps.  Along with those, I have since purchased a face mask resembling those of burglars, mittens that might as well be used in the kitchen and a huge coat with more down feathers than the comforter on my bed. 

Lesson learned.  Bring it on wind, rain and snow!!!   

Happy December!

On this 1st day of December, I could not help but wake up in the happiest of spirits with a huge smile on my face.  Today marks officially two more weeks until my review board which not only means my semester will be complete, but when I return in the spring I will be going into my senior year- something I never thought I would say! Along with that, I get to head back to CA soon for not just work this time around, but a few weeks of actual vacation time with my favorite people!

Since starting this crazy bicoastal journey of traveling coast to coast every 5 weeks, I have gone from feeling like it is a piece of cake to slowly understanding the meaning of being settled.  Granted, I am nowhere near that point yet, but I am starting to see it in my future.  I absolutely love this roller coaster I am on right now, however, it is A LOT of work.  A couple weeks ago I was debating spending Thanksgiving here in Boston to avoid travel costs and madness, or meeting up with my family in Utah.  For a minute I convinced myself that spending the day here with some good eats, wine and movies would be a delightful day, quickly saying to myself, yeah right!  At the end of the day, holidays should be spent with family and people you love and I never want to have a holiday memory anything short of that.

So, I booked flights!  I really missed my little brother and although I had seen my parents a week prior in CA, I still always love spending time with them.  My dad and brother were in on the surprise but my mom had no clue I was coming.  It was perfect.  My brother picked me up from the airport and when we got home he told my parents they had to see the moon because it was absolutely beautiful, all while I was hiding behind a trash can.  They came out and I snuck up behind my mom and said, "wow, it sure is pretty!".  And boom, que water works from mama Jules.  Mission accomplished.

After spending a short but wonderful Thanksgiving in Utah with the family, where I had hoped to completely disconnect from all things work and art school, I came back to Boston feeling like I had no break at all between long travel hours and endless activities (which I obviously did enjoy).  It really hit me that as much as I tell myself when I am in CA it's a break from art school and when I am in Boston it's a break from work life, the reality is, I need a break from it all!!!  I sat on the couch almost the entire day when I returned to Boston trying to figure out why I could not pull it together and I think it just comes down to EXHAUSTION! I am always one to believe I can do it all and I will be fine but I think the last few weeks have just been eye opening as far as accepting that me time is also part of doing it all.

That being said, you can now understand where the overwhelming amount of excitement comes into play with December's arrival.  On top of actual time away from work and school, all five of us Taylors will be under one roof, which hasn't happened in over 6 months!  I cannot wait to spend time with my brothers, Kyle and Cody, who I miss every day, along with their partners and my parents.  Not to mention enjoying a long list of Christmas activities and mini getaways with family and friends as well!

Ugh, 'tis the season people!!  Put a smile on, hang some lights, cozy up in front of the fire and consume puppy chow in massive amounts! (If you don't know what puppy chow is, you should)

Happy December! :)    

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chi-town Whirlwind... Literally.

So I just wanted to start off by saying I started writing this blog post a few months ago and clearly flew off the blog-wagon for a bit.  Now that summer is over, school is back in session and year two of my crazy bicoastal life is underway, I thought it was time to get back in the groove and try to stay on top of blogging more consistently.  My biggest reason for doing so is that I have found this chapter of my life to be so involved and constant, I don't want to miss any experience or event of great significance because they seem to come and go so quickly (which I hear is just going to get worse as time goes on).

That being said, I would like to quickly rewind back to February of this year, when this blog originated:

At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I was going to make a bigger effort to make the most of this opportunity and experience as many adventures as possible. To start the ball rolling on this, I made a bucket list. Not only a bucket list for my life, but a 2012 bucket list as well. I cannot reveal the contents of this list, but I can tell you its going to be a great year!!

I have been known to be a bit of a yes woman of sorts and have trouble saying no, simply because usually there is no point in it! Why say no to an experience that will create memories of a lifetime? No excuse is good enough to surpass the greatness of the opportunity, trust me. So, as ironic as it is, after watching "Yes Man" on tv one day, I became curious to the idea of going to the airport, asking for the next flight out and taking it, wherever it may lead... Immediately adding that adventure to my 2012 bucket list. Unfortunately, at this point, I am not quite spontaneous enough to make a trip that abruptly, however, I did decide to browse flights one day and the day that I happened to be doing so, there were ridiculously cheap flights from Boston to Chicago. I have always wanted to go there and have talked to my dad about planning a trip for ages. For some reason, at that moment, I just felt like passing up the opportunity was silly.... So, I booked it! With my crazy schedule between school projects and work trips to Cali, the best I could finagle was a day trip but to me that would be just enough to fulfill the adventure I was craving.

Being my fathers daughter, which becomes more apparent as time goes on, knowing that I only had a short time in Chicago, I did some research and put together a little itinerary along with google directions in sequential order from place to place... I know I know, but it's not my fault!! As type A as it is, that preparation saved me on this trip. My plan was to hit a couple museums, the Navy Pier, Millenium Park (gotta see the bean!) and finish up at Wrigley Field... obviously! Prefacing with that, I am going to sum up the sequence of events from that day highlighting the most significant parts of my trip...

Started off the day by waking up at 4:30am to get ready and head to the airport. I walk down the hill to catch the subway around 5am. Notorious for running after the subway only to catch it as it is passing right by me, I was shocked that I actually got to the stop before it passed. As I am sitting there waiting, it hits me that it has been quite a bit longer than normal so I check my phone for the subway schedule and realize that it doesn't even start until 5:30. Figures. No other option but to take a cab, however, even they were scarce on the streets at this hour. I find one and in my effort to save cash, I ask him to take me to a location where I can then catch the subway the rest of the way to the airport (when you go directly to the airport there is automatically an extra fee tacked on). He is pretty much on to me, main reason being I have a travel bag in tow. He drops me and looks at me slightly funny but then drives off. I look around with unfamiliar eyes and after a few minutes realize I told him the wrong place to drop me. Checking the time, consulting Google maps as it loads slower than a snail, my heart rate begins to rise and I slightly panik thinking I may not make my flight. I have no other choice but to get in another cab and have him take me to the airport. The joke is on me because in an effort to save cash on a cab, I ended up spending more than normal having to take two.  Oh well, nothing can get me down or ruin this spontaneous adventure!  So, half asleep I power up with some coffee and hop on the plane, excited for the whopping one hour I will gain thanks to the time difference (every hour counts on a day trip).

I land in Chicago and get on the Hertz bus that will take me to the rental car center.  I am the only person on the bus and of course have to make small talk with everyone I meet, so it looks like the driver is my next victim.  Turns out, he is from Anaheim, my hometown, and used to work literally two streets over from my childhood home.  This world keeps getting smaller and smaller. We shared some nice small talk and reminisced on places we were both familiar with in CA.  Finally approaching Hertz, I check in and every person I come in contact with assumes I am there on business for the day.  In an interest to save time I let them think that because explaining everything I have written above to each person throughout the day would leave me with no time left.  The man takes me out to the lot for my car, which is supposed to be the smallest cheapest put put available and I quickly observe that there is nothing of the sort in the lot.  He makes his way over to some cars that are definitely in the luxury category and starts asking me if I would like to upgrade.  Obviously I already know what he is doing and figure if I keep declining the upgrade he will have to either upgrade me for free or a put put will have to fall out of the sky.  After a couple minutes of him trying to get me to upgrade (along with his almost convincing spiel on extra coverage insurance), he finally gives up and the next thing you know I am driving away in a brand new Toyota Camry (with basic coverage).    

From there, I took an amazingly beautiful drive through the suburbs making my way into the city.  Being the gadget girl I am, I had my music streaming through the car immediately and set up my bluetooth so I was calling my parents and friends with updates while trying to take in all of the beautiful buildings and foliage on the drive.  It is always so crazy to me when traveling just how different every place is and how something so foreign to one person is another persons normal.  I love that.

Throughout the day, I spent a lot of time driving through the city and getting lost on one way streets while trying to find parking, which is no less than about $20 for two hours.  That is probably the one thing I had not considered when putting together my little itinerary (just a heads up for anyone thinking about Chicago).  If I had more time, I would have definitely taken public transportation, it always seems to be the easier way to go.  I headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art first which was a must.  From where I parked, it was a bit of a stroll to the museum which was a great chance for some city photos and of course a walk through of the amazing Anthropologie location they have.

After the museum, I made my way to Millenium Park.  Found another central parking location that I thought would be suitable for the rest of the day.  I spent a good amount of time at Millenium Park as that person who is standing there taking pictures of themselves in the reflection of the bean from every different angle.  You gotta do what you gotta do!  I probably should've asked someone to snap a photo of me but we all know I am not good at that.  In fact, I think I spent most of my time taking photos of other people instead, that always seems to be more gratifying.  After a good hour or so of the bean and its surrounding sites, it was time for some lunch.  I am in Chicago right, so many amazing places for food, yet, where do I end up? Panera. It was easy and convenient and I was so hungry I needed a guaranteed satisfying meal, which Panera is always good for.  I also knew it had outlets which was very important because at this point in the day, between taking photos, google mapping and texting everyone my whereabouts my phone was having trouble keeping up.

After a late lunch it was already time to get a move on.  I definitely underestimated travel time and had to unfortunately cut out a couple places I had originally planned to go.  Guess I will just have to go back! (Hint hint to my dad on that one!) My last stop was Wrigley Field.  By the time I got there, the clouds were rolling in and the winds were picking up.  Up until this point I was seriously questioning moving to Boston over Chicago, as I had considered schools in both cities.  The weather had been so lovely, I didn't understand what everyone always goes on and on about referring to it as this "windy city".  However, Chicago did not disappoint and allowed me the chance to see what the craziness of hair flying everywhere, head to toe numbness and winds so strong you look like your walking in slow-mo.  All of this kicked in just in time to take some photos of Wrigley Field, briefly walk all around the area, teach a woman how to use the camera on her phone, and ACTUALLY ask her to take a photo of myself as well!  Granted, it turned out blurry, but oh well it's still a memory and part of the story, right?

Heading back to the airport, I don't have a lot of extra time, which is just perfect as the traffic starts to worsen (not).  Driving through the city at just about rush hour was in no way convenient.  Second panik attack of the days kicks in, as I still have to fill up the gas tank, drop off the car and get driven from Hertz to the airport in time for my flight.  But you know, freaking out gets you nowhere and I always seem to be good at just saying, not much you can do, you miss your flight you miss your flight!  It could always be worse.  So I make my way through that last list of tasks and finally arrive to the airpot without blowing away.  I had just enough time to chug a pre flight crown and ginger before making my way to the gate where I can catch my breathe.

Of course, my flight is delayed.  After grunting and having a quick first reaction of disappointment, I realize, its okay, I am here, I made it and now I have time for another cocktail, along with the chance to have one more special encounter with the woman next to me at the bar.  This woman was fabulous, somewhere in her 60's, with a cute short red hair-do, fancy nails and a fabulous ensemble.  Very Shirley MacLaine-esque, the one we all wish was related to us.  She had just gotten back from a cruise with her lady friends, where she got to meet handsome men and drink cocktails all day- the details went on and on but in an interest to not turn this post into a novel, use your imagination.  She offered me some of her sliders and after graciously DECLINING the offer a good four times, she ended up getting me my own plate and serving me some anyway.  After finishing my sliders, cocktail and story time with Shirley, who by now had a group of travelers gathered around listening in, it was time to catch my flight.

By the time I was finally seated on the plane, I felt nice and relaxed thanks to the extra crown and gingers and found myself finally able to sit back and process, with the biggest smile on, the crazy day I had just experienced, overall feeling so great about actually following through with this day trip adventure and making the most of it.  Sure, with anything, there are unexpected speed bumps that force us to re-route our original plans, but at the end of the day, that is also what makes things so spontaneously exciting.  Something I have learned since moving across the country, is that being out of your normal and your every day comforts is the best way to learn and grow as a person.  Any experience we have the opportunity to take, is an experience of a lifetime.  Good or bad.  I went into this day feeling slightly timid and shy, as I was in new situations and places trying to figure out everything on my own.  At the end of it, realizing I was capable of making it successful is such a gratifying feeling that leaves me that much more confident to do it again.  Next time, however, I am pulling a complete "Yes Man", heading to the airport and taking the next flight out.  Why not??

I'm that person.
A little tryptic of the bean!

The blurry shot my new friend took for me!
I love the top photo in this Wrigley Field collage, it's the rooftop seating of an apartment building across the street from the stadium.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Rookie Blogger Mistake... Oops!

A quick note to let you all know that in case you didn't notice, I re-directed my blogger address to my personal domain, The positive of this is that accessing my blog is now much easier. The negative is that I got a little ahead of myself and thought I knew what I was doing but in re-directing this blog I managed to make my studio blog non-existent. So, for the time being until I get it figured out, if you click on my studio blog tab it will say "not found". Luckily, I have not updated any of my work from this semester yet so you aren't missing out on anything! I will let everyone know when it is fixed and running properly again!!

All For The Sake Of Clean Clothes!

If there is one thing I took for granted before moving to Boston, it is doing laundry. Seems like such a small thing but in this city, not the case. In our building, we are on the top floor of a four story walk up, with the laundry so (in)conveniently located on the first floor. The only positive of that is getting our workout in going up and down and up and down, swapping loads and having to pull things out early because they don't need the full drying time. The negative being each load we wash is $1.50 and each load we dry is $1.25, which means we need a surplus of quarters at all times. How do we get all the quarters you ask? Well, if we're lucky, over time we have collected enough spare change to help us get through a couple loads. If not? Sometimes we time it just right and happen to hit the grocery store where we can get a roll of quarters. When those options fail, however, sometimes you have to resort to less convenient measures, which I experienced not too long ago.

During one of my long 12 hour days of class, my mind started wandering off into my to-do list for the weekend, reminding me of my overflowing laundry basket that needed to be tackled. But I knew I didn't have any quarters. As I was taking a class break, getting my raisinets treat out of the vending machine, I go to get out my cash and realize I only have a $20. Great, alllll those quarters in change for one little bag of raisinets... See where this is going? No need to drag out this blog post, bottom line- I am now the girl who stands at the school vending machine waiting for $19 in quarters to pile up just so I can do my laundry.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Apartment Hunting In February For September

After the great journey of moving to Boston homeless last September and learning the hard way just how on top of finding a place you need to be in this city, I was determined to make sure my next place was locked in as soon as possible after the New Year. My roommate Katie agreed and since her experience in finding our place wasn't all that rosy either, although we were 7 months ahead of the game this year, we both went into the search with high anxiety. It was already a given that we were going to continue to live together next year, along with our new third roommate, Sam, who is going to fit in just perfectly, so at least that was set.

Immediately when I got back from my nice long Christmas break I hit Craigslist. There are so many places that go so quickly in such a small proximity of this city that taking the time to investigate each listing is not really beneficial. After what I went through last year, I learned that the best route is to copy and paste a general response to all realtors who have places of interest. From there, the ones that respond the quickest and friendliest get the pleasure of helping us find our next place, with only a short list of requirements :).

We planned out a day to check out some places and it was obvious all three of us had our fingers crossed hoping we would nail something down immediately (which seemed impossible after our previous experiences). The realtor showed us a nice handful of places, all located much more conveniently to our schools, groceries and T stops. Most importantly- eliminating the mile uphill incline we face daily. After the first couple places of awkward intrusions on half asleep guys who had clearly enjoyed their previous Friday night shenanigans, we pull up to our fourth listing, with growing grins on all three of our faces the closer we got to the apartment.

This place looked all too familiar. Why? Because the top half of the house belongs to four girlfriends I met through Katie and Sam. Too perfect. Without letting that decide for us too quickly, we knew it also had to meet our requirements. Three good sized bedrooms, nice functioning kitchen (we all love to cook), decent bathroom and laundry in the unit. Check, check, check, check! This place was perfect and the added bonus of the girls upstairs was almost too good to be true. The listing had just gone up and was already a popular hit so we definitely had to decide quickly. We debated looking further but the three of us easily agreed that this was the place. I am hoping to stay there for the rest of my time in Boston, as is Katie, so our main goal was to find a place that would be suitable for the next couple years.

We got on the paperwork immediately, contacting our parents for co-signs and writing out those lovely checks to secure the place. After getting everything in, we had to wait patiently over Superbowl weekend to hear whether or not we got the place. Which, we did!!! All we have left to do is go in this week and sign the lease agreement. From there, the countdown begins to get through the next 7 months until we get to move into to our amazing new place! Can't wait to be the only art school student surrounded by 6 girls who go to Northeastern, with majors that couldn't be further from fine art. I wouldn't have it any other way. These girls have helped make Boston my home away from home and I am so excited for all the memories we are going to have in the next couple years. More importantly, I am SO SO excited that I can rest easy for the next 7 months knowing that we have this great place to move into come September!

Sam, Katie and I out to celebrate landing our new place!!