The Simple Things

Well, after nearly a month of being out of town, I’m back home and loving it. I spent a week in Portland, Maine before adventuring on to Paris, London, Belfast, and Dublin for two and a half weeks. I learned so much and gained valuable traveling experience, yet it’s good to be home. The Common App released on Saturday and I’ve begun filling out bits and pieces of it, all while studiously ignoring the essay portion. I finished a book over the weekend – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – and it was actually the first book I’d completed since June. This year has been very slow reading-wise but so fast-paced in almost every other way. I spent a good portion of Saturday and part of Sunday totally reorganizing my bookshelves and, for better or for worse, I’m satisfied with the way they turned out. (There’s only so much a girl can do with more books than she has shelves to put them on.) I’m back to using my beloved planner after a month-long hiatus. It’s nice to feel productive again, though my suitcase still lies unpacked in my entryway. I guess it’s a work in progress.

I’ve caught up on my ridiculous reality TV shows and done even more college research, slowly whittling down my top choices and safety schools into a selection that will hopefully comprise my final list. I’m touring three more schools in mid-September, and possibly one or two more after that, though nothing of the sort is firmly planned. I started posting on my “bookstagram” account again yesterday after a very long and unintended absence. (For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the word bookstagram is used to describe an Instagram account dedicated to bookish posts.) My family has been eating home-cooked meals for dinner since I returned from Europe and it’s a surprisingly welcome change. The baked ziti and delicious salads have been my favorite parts so far.

Yesterday was a particularly good day: I had a balanced day of relaxation and productivity. I managed to watch TV, work on college stuff, nap, and exercise and truthfully I was very proud of myself. *Pats self on back.* Then one of my closest friends and I went out for dinner at a newish sushi joint called Kelp. While the service was mediocre, the menu was awesome and the food we tried – crab rangoon, the Mexican roll, and a tempura fried tofu and sweet potato roll – was fantastic. It’s not a pricy place either, so if you’re in the area and looking for reasonable and delicious sushi, then check it out. Afterwards, we tried to rent The Hobbit from RedBox, but it was unavailable so we went back to my house and watched the first Lord of the Rings movie. I hadn’t watched it in a few years, and had forgotten there was so little action in the first installment (compared to the next two, of course). However, I enjoyed seeing Tolkien’s Middle-earth brought to life again and we have plans to watch the second movie later this week when the weather’s supposed to be awful.

One of my other good friends is turning 18 on Monday, which is crazy. I haven’t seen her in forever due to us both having hectic schedules and being out of town, but I’m looking forward to celebrating with her and her family this weekend. She requested a Thanksgiving-style dinner because she adores Thanksgiving and I absolutely love the idea. More home-cooked food… Yay!

It’s my half-birthday today. I finally get to see my trainer again and I’m thrilled because he’s sardonic and witty and lovely because of it. We get along grandly and I have a few fridge magnets to give him from my travels that he can add to his ever-growing collection. What I’m learning from my few days of being back is that home, family, and the simple things are those that I sometimes forget to appreciate at their full value and that they deserve to be recognized more often. Getting away from it all and seeing the world is amazing. I cherished my trips while I was on them, and before, and after. But learning to appreciate the quirks of your family, the flaws of your friends, and the familiarity of your hometown is harder when you’re here living through it all. It’s easy to love what you don’t have, so it’s easy to miss these things when you’re away from them. The trick is learning to appreciate what you have while you still have it. It’s an invaluable lesson. And I’m still learning.

Labor Day Weekend

A few weeks ago, the U.S. and Canada celebrated Labor Day on the first Monday (and this year, the first day) of September. For Labor Day weekend, I traveled to Miami, Florida for the first time with my friend Korina and her parents. Miami is like a different world- almost everyone speaks Spanish, there’s cool graffiti all over the walls of shops, and the climate is hotter and more humid than the rest of Florida. Because it’s a big city, there are tons of cool restaurants (one of my favorites was one that served sushi with a Peruvian twist), shops, and art galleries. We stayed at the Sagamore Hotel, which was cool because every stairwell had wall art painted all the way up. Korina and I spent most of our time in South Beach, which is a neighborhood in Miami Beach. We rented bikes and biked up and down the beach paths,  bought coconuts to drink, got henna tattoos from a street vendor, and we shopped. A lot. We also visited a cool indie bookstore, enjoyed the waves at the beach, and ate at some unique restaurants. It was such a fun trip and I loved experiencing a new city and different culture and lifestyle than that of my own city. It would be too long to detail everything we did in words, so without further ado, here are some pictures from my Labor Day weekend Miami adventure.

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First time on the beach
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Trying to model with the wall
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Another rad wall
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Coco loco
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One of many selfies…
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And another
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Breakfast at my new favorite cafe, Aroma
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Arte del elefante
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Wynwood sidewalk quote
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Awesome graffiti in Wynwood Art District
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Seven years?
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Back at Aroma for an afternoon chai (16 oz mugs..)
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Martha Pointer Photography ©
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Kardashian love
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As artsy as I get
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People were staring at us
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My favorite picture of Korina
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Black & white & henna tattoos
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Final farewell to the Sagamore

For more quirky photos of my Miami trip, check out my VSCO page, marpoi.vsco.co.