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July 31, 2013

good music & tired legs.

On Monday night Rich and I took a train into NYC and walked 35 blocks and 2 avenues to the Central Park summer stage setup to see Ben Howard live. I've talked about him before, here and briefly here. He has a really breezy summer sound, so seeing him as the sun was going down in the middle of summer was absolutely perfect. And with wine in hand - even better.
He had an opener, Michael something. And to be honest, I don't even care enough to look up what his last name was. He was a good singer and had a good band, but to be honest he was just so boring. Ben Howard has a pretty upbeat sound with some exceptions, so having someone come in with really slow music and dragged out vocals was a bummer. It was not the type of thing I'm into, so standing in the hot sun in kind of uncomfortable sandals after walking all the way there were feelings only highlighted by my boredom. I feel bad for saying that about him because he did have talent, it was just not for me at all, especially under the circumstances.
Then the sun started to set a bit, the breeze found us, and Ben came out. He was just so good. I (mostly) forgot about how much my legs and feet hurt and just enjoyed the show. He played most of the songs from his one album, so singing along to them was fun, but I also love that he sang two or three new songs that sound really promising. He's only 25, and even though he's not very famous in the US, I'm sure he's on his way just like every other British singer/songwriter or band that I like. He's well known in England because he won an award or two earlier this year, one of them definitely being 'Best Male', so that was a big deal. I was surprised how many people were at the show, but a lot of people were noticeably British themselves, and the Americans that were there were of a certain type kind of. Ben Howard will most likely never be a name we hear on pop radio, but then again, I said that about Ed Sheeran and he's all over it now.
On the album the music isn't too rock-band-ish, but he definitely perked up a few of the more upbeat ones to a rock standard, which was really cool. His band was really good, and one of the members was this girl who was totally B.A. She sang back up vocals, and played like forty different instruments, including the cello (maybe it was a bass), and just danced around on stage like she was having the time of her life. She was real cool, and also funnily enough she was pretty tall for a girl, meanwhile Ben is a tiny little nugget of a man.
He played for a little over an hour and ended with an elongated version of his song 'The Fear'. He came back out for a three song encore, one of them brand new, and played alone. He used his guitar lying down in his lap to make a bunch of different musical sounds, which is similar to the type of thing Ed Sheeran does a lot, and then he ended his encore set with 'Promise' and a lot of extra instrumentals from him and his band.

At the end of the night we were sitting on a train with an annoying group of people, our legs were burning, and I was exhausted for work in the morning, but it was well worth it. I'm glad I got to see him at a smaller venue and pretty up close, because I've learned the hard way with other 'unknown' bands that from here on out the tickets will only get more expensive and my seat further away with time.

July 30, 2013

to do list printable.

Because I've been trying to get my desk together and simultaneously do a million things with R while he's visiting, I feel like I am constantly thinking about what to do next, and it's getting overwhelming. I keep reaching for a to do list on my desk and realizing that I don't have one, so I thought that I would make a quick one in photoshop just to print out a few times, and it has ended up turning out pretty cool so I decided to share it. For free!

Just click the image, save it to your computer, & print it out on 8.5" x 11" printer paper or card stock.


July 29, 2013

I might be addicted to spray painting things gold.

I got a new desk from ikea on Thursday night, and have been so excited to decorate it with some pretty things and make a nice space for myself to get my creative juices flowing. My old desk was a corner desk that I got with the rest of my furniture set when I was about ten, and it was just so clunky and took up so much space. Considering how big it was, there was really zero space to work after I put a pen cup and a computer on it, so I decided it was time to let it go. I picked up this desk from ikea and I am so obsessed with it. It kind of makes me feel older and more important, yet also like I'm still in college. It's the perfect mix of nostalgia and new-ness, if that makes sense.

So as soon as I set up the desk I decided that everything on it needed to fit and mesh and make me feel creative and inspired in the way that the rest of my childhood room can't. I need this space to foster creativity rather than become just another surface to put folded laundry and receipts on. So I went to a few places and got a couple of little things, which I will probably post about once all of the little chotchkies I got are in place and I can take a few pictures of the space with good light. In the meantime, I did a little diy to contribute to my white, black, and gold theme.

I bought a letter "A" from Michael's dollar section about a month ago in this lime green color with every intention of painting it a different color. Then, I was in Michael's yesterday with Rich (he's here!!) and I saw a mini can of gold spray pain and thought, "hmmm, maybe I'll start small with the whole spray painting thing". I didn't know if I was going to buy the spray paint, but then R pointed out the Halloween section (already?!) and there was a little plastic skull that was this awful grey-ish cream color, but would have looked awesome painted gold, so I decided that I was going to get the spray paint and go to town.

Spray painting is surprisingly easy and also super fun. All you really need to do is lay out some newspaper outside and put on a rubber glove before you go on a spraying rampage. The spray paint that I used only takes about 30 minutes to be dry to the touch, so I left it outside after a few light coats of paint for 45 minutes just to also eliminate most of the smell.
I'm really happy with the way that they turned out, sorry that I forgot the before pictures, I was just so excited to start that I wasn't even thinking about it. I feel that unlike any regular paint-it-on-yourself-with-a-brush type of paint, spray paint just covers anything. I don't know why it has taken me so long to discover it, but now that I have I think I may have a problem.

July 28, 2013

he's here.

After four months of frustration, waiting, facetime calls, arguements & make-ups over the internet, and texting as a main mode of communication, he's here.

We haven't done much - a dinner out alone, a movie with a friend, brunch with my parents - but it's all been so normal. We go right back to normal so quickly once we're together and it makes me feel like all of the time apart is some kind of weird dream. We always fall back into step, and because we talk so much every day, it's like we were together the whole time. It makes the waiting seem like it was so easy, but at the same time, the short few weeks that he's here will fly by and we'll be back to the waiting and we won't know what hit us.

I am savoring the rest of this summer with him.

July 25, 2013

sometimes I just can't help myself.

A couple of weeks ago I was given a raise at my job, and I decided I would treat myself to something fun, but then the weekend of taylor swift, ed sheeran, and the boardy barn happened and I just didn't have the time. So rewind to last Saturday when I babysat Max while his parents were at JT & Jay-Z (so jealous), and then to Sunday when I had some extra cash in my wallet, and that's where we are. I was with my mom and mentioned to her that I remembered I have a huge Macy's gift card from my awesome friends to use in the Mac store. We decided we'd stop at the mall and go in, and we both ended up getting a lipstick (I got 'ravishing', she got 'fresh brew') and I got an angled 266 brush that I've had my eye on for a while. I still have so much money on that gift card, it's insane. Thanks guys!

On our way back we had to walk past Sephora, and my mom said, let's go in and see if they have anything exciting. She is an enabler. She knows I have been going into Sephora for the past few months to look at the Naked 2 palette, sigh, and walk back out. She was probably just sick of me talking about it to be honest, and it's not like there are any gift opportunities from her to me coming up, so she mentioned my extra babysitting cash and my raise and it all clicked for me. This is my congratulations present to myself! I was so excited about it because every time I see someone use it on YouTube I am in love with the look, so to finally own it was going to be pretty cool. So I got on line cradling the palette like a baby, my mom nowhere to be found all of a sudden.
Then my mom came on line with a stila liquid eyeliner in 'sequins' (also something that I had been looking at, but can't remember telling her about it. Turns out I'm a lot chattier than I perceive myself) and said that she's proud of me for getting a raise and being so good with my money (I have saved a loooooooooot of money the past few months and have given a lot to my dad for my million and one college loans) and that she wanted to buy it for me. She's pretty awesome.
So I walked out of the mall with four things, five if you count the free gift I got at Sephora, and even though that doesn't seem like a lot, all four things are definitely on the pricier side. Except I don't think I would have purchased all of the Mac stuff on the same day if I hadn't had a gift card, but I did, so I went for it.

I haven't tried any of the products on me yet, and will probably wait until the weekend because there's really no call for eyeshadow, lipstick, or liquid liner when you're a nanny. I am expecting good things from all of my purchases though, I made sure to do all of my research thoroughly before investing in them. I might possibly review them, I might be too lazy, we shall see (I'm sure you're on the end of your seat now waiting to see what I decide...not).

dear max // 1

Dear Max,

I've been your nanny for six months now, but I fell in love with you during my first day. You are such a special little boy; so smart, so handsome, and those cheeks. When your mom and dad hired me, I was ecstatic. I was worried on my first day alone with you to see just how well we would mesh and get along - I was nervous that you would miss your mom and dad too much, that you wouldn't take to me at all, that you would cry all day. And man, did you cry. For twenty minutes after your mom left. You were absolutely wailing. Wailing. It made me so upset that I couldn't console you, until finally with all other options exhausted, I turned you around from the gate at the stairs, looked you straight in those big brown eyes and said, "hey, can you show me your toys?"

It was like your original train of thought was drowned in images of all of the toys that you loved. You overwhelmingly (for both of us) started gathering your toys from around the room, and from then on we were a pair. You laughed at me when I gave your cars and figurines voices, you recited for me entire episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse before the opening theme song was finished and the episode was even announced, and the best part on that first day, was after your nap you didn't cry, you just sat on my lap on the couch and we both crossed our legs at the same time. Two peas in a pod.

I have loved watching you grow over these past six months. At the end of my week with you there's something new that wasn't there on Monday, and when I get back from the weekend there's even more. You string words together and form sentences that surprise me every day. I wish I could spend an hour in your brain and discover how you learn so quickly and how your mind works. My favorite things that you say right now are "ank you" (thank you), "wogurt miwlk" (yogurt milk), "get me down here" (in an angry voice when you want to be put down), and "whaturyou doin Alessia?" (to whatever I'm doing). But nothing compares to your small little voice saying, "I love you Alessia". It's the best thing.

I love coming to work on Monday mornings because I actually miss my job over the weekend - something not many of my friends, or anyone I know can really say. Do I like waking up at 6:30am? Not really, but once I'm up and with you, sleepiness takes a backseat. You are so full of life when I walk through the door every morning, and on days that you aren't preoccupied with the thought of yogurt milk, you run to me and give me a huge hug. And of course, when I ask for it, a big drooly kiss. I ask you for kisses all day, and because you are so little, you oblige without a second thought. I am dreading the day that you are "too old" for that. I am in denial about you growing up in general, because I just want you to be this small little man that you are now forever.
Here are a few things going on in your life right now:
1// you have almost mastered using a fork and a spoon. You have trouble turning the spoon the right way to your mouth, so yogurt and oatmeal tend to fall down the front of your shirt at every meal, but that's ok. And you've got the fork down, it's just when you're trying to get things like bananas that are kind of gooey and break apart. You haven't quite gotten the scooping motion that goes along with the forking action. You'll get there though, probably by the end of tomorrow at the rate you learn things.
2// you are obsessed with Disney's Cars. You have been since about March. You ask to watch it all day, every day, and you have about a bajillion toys that are somehow related to the movie. Your favorite character is Tow Mater, so I got you a huge stuffed Mater for your birthday this year. Whenever we go outside, or we're driving somewhere, you point out all different colored sports cars and say "Lighting McQueen!" or any type of pick-up truck is "Mater!" You're funny like that.
3// You just started camp three days a week, and it is such a big-boy step for you, but you are handling it like a champ. You tell me when I pick you up about all of the things you did, and your teachers praise you like there's no tomorrow. Everybody loves you.

I get a little upset every Monday and Wednesday morning when I drop you off, because sometimes you seem a little bit nervous about me leaving, or on the other hand, sometimes you just go straight into an activity and you barely say goodbye. I miss you for those three hours, and when I pick you up you are asleep in your carseat before we even leave the parking lot. I selfishly miss having the entire day with you, and wish that you didn't need to nap after your long morning.

We just got great news this week- that your mommy is pregnant with your little brother or sister! I am so excited for this baby to come, you have no idea. You are going to be such an amazing big brother, especially to a sister (fingers crossed), so I can't wait to meet this little one in January. By that time you'll be two and a half, and going to school five mornings a week. I'll have a lot of time with you still, but also a lot of alone time with your new baby sibling. I'm thrilled, because I'll still have a little one to hang out with while you're gone, but at the same time, part of me doesn't want to lose just the two of us. I love you and me time. We're so funny together, we know how to make each other laugh, how to make each other feel better, what games we both like to play. You're only two, but you know me so well, it feels like you're so much older. You're just beyond your years in so many ways. We are both going to love this new baby so much, but there will be a part of me that misses just you and me the way we are now.
I want to soak in the next few months I have with you before you start school and the baby comes. I want to be able to remember everything that we are as a pair. I won't be able to be your nanny forever, and it upsets me that one day, even though you'll be older, you'll love a new nanny the way you love me now. You are so young right now that even though your memory is absolutely insane, I am afraid that you'll forget me completely. And even if you don't forget me, you'll probably only remember the me that took care of both you and your brother or sister. I think about this often, and it makes me never want to leave you.

You are not a job to me, even though I leave in the morning to 'go to work' and go home at the end of the day (to walk Lucas, as you would say) like any other job operates. But this is the best job that anyone could have, and even though I know a lot of nannies, I know that I am the luckiest one. You are the most amazing kid, your parents are the best (don't ever forget that, even when you're an angsty teenager), and I just know that most other nannies only think of their job as an income that results from hanging out with a cute kid or two. I still get surprised on Thursday evenings when your dad hands me money. I forget all too often that taking care of you is how I make my living, because when I think about it, it is so absurd that your parents pay me to be with you all day. I should be paying them to thank them for sharing their phenomenal child with me.

I know I'm not your mom, but it sure does feel close to it sometimes because of the sheer amount of time we spend together doing things that moms and their sons do. I have so much love for you that it's almost painful. I know that one day I will feel the same love for my children, maybe even more so if that's even possible, but for right now you are the closest thing I've got to a kid, and I love you in that way. I love you so, so much, Max. I hope you never forget that.

Love always,


July 24, 2013

virtual chalkboard making.

I found a really cool quote on Pinterest, and it was on a chalkboard background, which I loved. The actual pin leads to a print shop with the print that I had originally seen. Then I searched in pinterest for "make a chalkboard print", and this pin popped up in the results.

I followed this link to save a chalkboard background, and then searched google for a few chalkboard fonts. I downloaded all of these:

I took one of my favorite quotes from Mumford & Sons' song 'After the Storm' and wrote it out using the grutch shaded and chalk hand lettering fonts, added a few dots as a top and bottom border, and called it a day. I just wanted to see what it all looked like and I really like how it looks. I will definitely be venturing into this a little deeper next time, but I figured I'd share what I came up with to start and share it with you so you can create your own or even save mine.

I also screenshot a close up of the lettering so you can see how detailed these fonts are and how they would look if you made a large scale print using them:I thought that this was pretty fun, so I figured I'd share. I think there could be a lot of uses for this project, such as prints, scrapbooking, blog elements, etc. If you make something, let me know!

July 23, 2013

summer tuneage.

Summer is in full swing now, and my choices in music sure are proving that. Sometimes there are just songs that remind you of something. For example, Party in the USA (worst song ever) reminds me of my freshman year of college, and Sweetness by Jimmy Eat World remind me of my younger days at my childhood sleepaway camp. I have a million different songs for a million different moments in time, but I also have music that just makes me think of seasons, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite summer tunes for you all to enjoy whether you know them already or not.

1// Ben Howard - I feel like I talk about this kid to everybody - those will listen and those who won't. I just love him, he's amazing. I'm seeing him live next Monday in Central Park and I cannot wait. His sound is so summery and light. His voice is velvet. He's adorable. There's not much more I can really say but to listen to him. I posted about his album here, and you can listen to one of his songs there.

2// Ed Sheeran - one of my favorite artists of all time, if you didn't know already (broken record alert). I spoke about his album here, and about seeing him live here. He is so eclectic that I can listen to him all day, every day, but especially these last couple of summers I have found that his album is really good windows down, sunnies on music.

3// Of Monsters & Men - This is going to get really repetitive really fast. Light, breezy, folky, windows down. End of. I have (surprise, surprise) blogged about their album. They have sporadically been on the radio here, and the song I included in my post is their most popular, so if you like that then definitely give the rest of it a listen.

4// Avalanche City - when I saw Eric Hutchinson live last summer (who also has a pretty summery feel now that I think about it), this band from NZ opened up for him. They only have an EP on the US iTunes, which is annoying because they actually have much more music, but it is awesome. To be honest I've been meaning to get my hands on all of their released music on amazon or something, but there is always so much music in my life that I haven't gotten around to it. Their sound is really bubbly and fun, and they have cool accents, which is always a bonus.

This is their song, 'Love, Love, Love', which is on the EP that I have.

Love, Love, Love
Avalanche City

5// Matt Nathanson - I have been listening to this guy for quite some time now. He has a ridiculous amount of music out there, so I would find it hard to believe that many people haven't heard of him. But if you haven't heard of him, his album that came out last year, Modern Love, is ah-mah-zing, so I'd say start there because there are so many other songs of his that I love but they're all on different albums. He also just released an album that I bought yesterday called Last of the Great Pretenders. He's just a beast and makes music like it's his job. Oh, wait.

Below is the namesake of last year's album, and it is a perfect summer jam.

Modern Love
Matt Nathanson

What's on your summer playlist? I'm always, always looking for more music.

July 22, 2013

and we danced all night to the best song ever.

I died and went to One Direction heaven this afternoon. With Jackie, of course, because we don't do One Direction without each other these days. For the last six days we have been watching the teaser trailers for the band's new song and music video "Best Song Ever", which have consisted of each boy dressing up as a made up character. Niall is a fat, fat man in a suit; Liam is a choreographer with blond hair and pink socks; Louis is a hairy, yet balding, chubby man; Harry is an adorable little nerd; and Zayn is a girl in a skirt with boobs. The teasers were pretty hilarious, so I was excited to see how the characters were going to be put into action.

As soon as I saw it up on YouTube, I watched it four times in a row. It was funny, the boys look awesome, the song is good, and it's just making me so excited for the movie release. Jackie and I tweeted each other simultaneously with the link to the video, and then began a rapid fire texting conversation that basically incriminates us of being crazed women in every way. But whatever, can't stop, won't stop.

Below is the video from One Direction's YouTube channel, and underneath that is my second by second (okay, not every second) commentary. Watching it over and over and texting Jackie at the same time made me realize how many favorite parts I had, so on my bajillionth time watching, I decided to take notes. Sue me.

:30 Harry sitting down.
:34 Harry's smile.
:43 Zayn bending over and the boys staring at his non-existent tush.
:59 Harry's face.
1:09 Harry's 'cute as a button' line.
1:19 Harry's 'dance is so hot right now' line.
1:32 the hmm noise.
1:46 Liam's shimmy.
2:10 Harry's voice.
2:40 Harry...again.
2:46 Harry's smile and the way he grabs Zayn.
3:07 Zayn on a Segway.
3:29 Liam's first raspy note.
3:40 Harry's smile.
4:07 Harry throwing the computer.
4:14 Louis' face.
4:23 Louis' smile.
4:26 HARRY. Ugh. 
4:34 Zayn dancing as a girl.
4:59 Louis' 'which way am I going' move.
5:17 collective pelvic thrust.
5:20 collective booty shake.
5:24 Harry's face when he almost falls over.
5:55 Harry's 'pants' line.
5:56 Harry dancing as Marcel.
5:58 Liam's sweet moves.

Try to watch it and not follow every single note I made #tripledogdare.

pinterest inspired to-do list // food.

I spend so much time on Pinterest, and just like everyone else I think to myself as I pin something, "this is so cool, I'm going to do this later!" or "I am totally going to bake that cake this weekend and have a party with all of these sweet diy decorations so that my friends can eat my cake." I do it all the time. So even though pinterest keeps all of my pins in one place for me, I figured I'd start a little series by picking the top ten things on a pinterest board that I want to do/make/cook, and make my way through those lists little by little when I have the time.

My first list is definitely going to have to come from my delish board, because when Rich is here we love cooking together, so this will be like a little challenge for us in the weeks that he's visiting. On this board I have desserts, drinks, dips, and food-food items, so I think I'll limit this first list to the food-food and savory dips. I'm sure we'll end up ploughing through these, and if that's the case, I think desserts will have to be up next.

1// chicken pesto sandwich on a french baguette with tomato, arugula, and mozzarella. YUM CITY. We are both huuuuuge sandwich lovers, especially anything on a french baguette.
2// creamy white chicken and artichoke lasagna. Chicken, good. Artichoke, good. Melted cheesy goodness, gooooood.
3// mashed "potatoes" - mashed cauliflower, chives, garlic, romano cheese, and olive oil. I'm just mostly curious to see if it actually tastes like mashed potatoes at all.
4// corn and feta guacamole. I love, love, love guacamole and I love feta cheese equally, if not more. This looks absolutely delish and perfect for snacking in front of a movie or while dinner is cooking.
5// burgers stacked with spinich, brie, cranberry, avacado, bacon, and onion rings. omg. R loves burgers, so this is going to have to be a must.
6// guacamole grilled cheese sandwich. Another great sandwich, and another guacamole recipe. Amazing spin on a classic.
7// caprese dip. serve hot with pita chips. Or a spoon.
8// enchilada casserole. Cheesy goodness that can probably be served as a dish on it's own, or as a dip.
9// steak with onion bleu cheese sauce. I'm a huge fan of meats being served with a killer sauce all over it rather than just some BBQ sauce or ketchup. This is much more restaurant style, and onions and bleu cheese are just amazing.
10// buffalo chicken dip. Self-explanitory.

I'm really excited now that I've narrowed it down to ten things. I feel like this list being here will make me try harder to actually cook these dishes. Now Rich just needs to get here and we can get moving!

See my progress here.

July 20, 2013

my newest job.

Hello all!

My cousin Alex runs a business in England called Chelsea Dogs, and she asked me to start blogging for the company. Basically, I just find cute pictures and videos of dogs and post them from my point of view, or more interestingly, from the point of view of my dog, Lucas.
Basically my job is just to post often enough that some traffic will start coming in and ultimately link to her line of products and services. So far it's been pretty fun channeling my inner dog, and I think that I portray Lucas, and dogs in general really well. Maybe this is my new career awakening: dog writer? Maybe not, but it's super fun for now and gives me more opportunities to write.

Visit the Chelsea Dogs blog here.
See 'Lucas' Lair' here.
Find my posts as a human here.

July 19, 2013


Reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.
Watching Mistresses, & loving it.
Wearing my mint shorts from Target all day, every day.
Listening to Passenger, Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, and Mumford & Sons in the car.
Annoyed that we switched to iO television service, because it is horrible and confusing.
Wishing that Thursday would just get here already so I can hug Rich.
Grateful for having three extra hours on Wednesdays to blog while Max is at camp.
Feeling accomplished that I've almost gotten my mile down to ten minutes.
Excited that I found out I'm going to be a nanny to two kids come January 2014.

Loving summer.

July 18, 2013

ed sheeran & taylor swift // 1 out of 55,000.

Not only have I crossed off "see a live concert" from my bucket list, but I've now double crossed it. Really, I've crossed it two and a half times, because I went to Taylor Swift's Red tour this past Saturday, and Ed Sheeran has been her opener for the whole tour. I love Taylor Swift even though she could be so annoying, (but I think she kind of knows that she's annoying, which redeems her character a little bit), and I am absolutely obsessed with Ed Sheeran. I think he's a fascinating artist, and so so so talented.

The show opened up with Joel Crouse, a handsome little country man who played three or four songs to warm up Austin Mahone, a 17 year old Bieber wannabe with an adorable little face and some suave dance moves. After the two of them is when I started to get really excited and anxious waiting for Ed to come out.

I saw his set list up online a few weeks prior to the show, and even though I knew he'd be performing my favorite song of his 'Give Me Love' (he opened with it and I cried), he wasn't playing one of my other favorites, 'U.N.I.' So my friend Jackie (my music soulmate, if you recall from my post about One Direction) and I decided to start tweeting to him incessantly to perform U.N.I. at the July 13 New Jersey show. So not only was I excited to see him in general, but Jackie and I thought that there would be about a 1% chance that he would see the tweets and play it, and about a .000000001% chance we would get a shout out. A girl can dream.

Finally he came out in all his glory and immediately jumped into Give Me Love. Like I mentioned before, I cried. I think it's such an emotional song and just hearing him sing it live in front of me and changing the style up to show off his live vocals was amazing. He played his two US radio singles, 'The A Team' and 'Lego House', and 'Grade 8', also off of his + album (which I blogged about here).

In the middle of those, he started off between songs by saying something along the lines of, "I like to change up the set list every once in a while to accomodate the fans." Well, you better believe that Jackie and I jumped to the ends of our chairs to stare at each other with our mouths wide open. This is it! And then, because we were in NJ and half of the audience was from New York, he played a rendition of Jay-Z's 'Empire State of Mind'. It was awesome, but we so got our hopes up. It was such a coincidence that he mentioned changing up his set list for his fans, but it was too good to be true though. All good in the end, because he redeemed himself with an incredible performance of his soon to be US hit 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You', which is more of a rap song. He inserted a few freestyle verses in between the existing ones, and even broke into a few bars of Macklemore's 'Thrift Shop'. He was so good that it hurt to see him get off the stage.

But then, all of the lights dimmed and the sun was really starting to go down and all of a sudden a huge spotlight shined onto a big red curtain in the middle of the stage, and there was Taylor behind it and the beat to 'State of Grace' bumping through the speakers. She put on a fantastic show. Each song had it's own set, the dancers were really good, her voice sounded incredible, she looked great in all of her outfits, even though she was so sweaty her bangs were stuck to her forehead, and most of all she was just really sweet.

It's widely known among her fans that her favorite number is 13, and tons of girls had shirts with Swift written on the back and 13 underneath. She mentioned the number, and then said that she's not sure that anyone would know, but her favorite month is July. She decided when she planned the tour that selling out this 55,000 person stadium on her favorite date would be the best way to celebrate it. So she had high expectations for the night and I would say that they were met. Her audience was crazy, so many people dressed up and a million signs decorated in fairy lights. When I went to see N'Sync as a nine year old version of myself, I went in a pair of shorts and a way too big for me shirt with all five of their faces in different colors - no signs, no lights (and no iPhone to record the whole thing). But that's a different story.

Another cool thing about this show was that even though we were pretty far back (though we were almost centered with the stage), there was a little mini stage on the floor a lot closer to where we were sitting, and for four songs, she stood on that one. She got carried to it during one song, can't remember which exactly, maybe 'I Knew You Were Trouble', and then stayed for a few more, including her duet with Ed, 'Everything Can Change'. It was really nice having her a lot more visible for that little bit, especially since Ed was a lot closer too. Also, the middle of that mini stage rose up and down, which got them even closer to us on the second level!

The show ended with 'We Are Never Getting Back Together' and a lot of fireworks exploding off the side of the stage. It was a great ending to a great show, and even though I was only one of 55,000 guests, I felt like all of the artists were really humble and grateful for every single person that was there. I would see the entire show again in a heartbeat, it was such an awesome way to spend a Saturday night.

July 17, 2013

from babies to now.

For one of my anniversary presents to Rich I made him a blurb book. Before making it I had heard a lot about blurb and their photo books, but I have always been a snapfish user for my photo printing needs. After seeing how easy it was to make a blurb book, I decided to give it a whirl.

I went through pictures of me and R from 2008 to now, and created a 20 page, 7 x 7 book of full page photos of me and him in chronological order. It starts with us looking like babies, and it ends with us now (but looking back on this in another 5 years, we'll look like babies again. Such is life, friends.)

I really love the way it turned out, and this method of documentation is definitely going to become a staple for me. I made this particular book a short one because I was hesitant about the quality, but if I could go back I would have made this soooo many pages. But it's nice the way it is - simple, to the point, just some of our best shots through the years (I apologize for all of the mushy love ones, but hey, this book was created to celebrate love!). I highly recommend blurb to anyone looking to do a similar type of thing.

July 16, 2013

who created this wonderful place?

Tucked into a little corner of Hampton Bays, Long Island, is a magical place where legal citizens can go to relive their college years on a Sunday afternoon; sidenote: many of the people that frequent it are actually in college, but still. I have wanted to go since I turned 21 two years ago, and I feel like as a respectable human, there was a window of time before I am "too adult" to go, so that's why I threw it on my bucket list for this summer.

So basically, from where I live on Long Island the Hamptons are an hour and a bit away from me, and not every train line on Long Island goes out there. Obviously that list includes my two local ones, and about seven other ones kind of nearby. We knew going into the day that it was going to be a trek getting there, but we're also a little bit dumb in terms of planning, so we missed our first opportunity to get out there before 12, which was a 10:46 train. We decided to hang out at my friend Kiersten's boyfriend's house nearby and get our breakfast sandwich and early morning tequila on. By the time we caught the next train at 12:51 we were warm and ready for the rest of the day.

Once we got there via long train journey and short cab ride, we joined the back of a looooooong line in the hot sun. Two hours and five gallons of sweat later, we were in. As soon as I walked through the door I felt like I was back in Scranton. The music was right, the crowd was ridiculous, and the beer was  a-flowin'.

One of the famously known details known about the Boardy Barn is the logo, a smiley face with sunglasses and the name of the establishment as the shape of the mouth. As soon as you walk in people start covering you with stickers of the logo that get handed out in long sheets behind the food counter. We covered each other with stickers and got our drink on. With $2 beers you can't go wrong, right? Right.

The grainy-ness of some of these photos are actually spot on. I had sunglasses + beer goggles on all day, and all I can remember was how great it felt to be in a giant crowd of drunk people dancing to oldies and current chart toppers. It seems so juvenile, but every once and a while I like to grant myself a few hours of "college Alessia" time. I feel like I got my dance on and was hungover by 10pm, two of  my personal criteria for a successful day of day drinking.

I had an awesome time at this place, but would I make it an every weekend, even twice a month thing? No, probably not. It took so long to get out there, it was a mess missing that first train and equally as messy trying to get home with a million other drunk people. If it were closer to where I lived, on my train line, or even just if it were on a Saturday, I would reconsider, but it's not. Sigh.

Despite all of that though, I would go back and do it all over again, sweatiness and all, because it was a lot of fun. The staff were really nice considering they deal with drunk people all day long, the other people their were friendly, we didn't see any fights or other type of trouble that made us uncomfortable. It was just a good time.

So another summer bucket list item bites the dust. I feel like I'm busting through these at a pretty decent pace, and a lot of the other ones are in the making, or already planned but yet to happen. This one felt good to cross off, because it reminded me of Scranton and my housemates, making me want to plan that reunion on my list even more intently. So all in all, a good day, good reminiscing, and good new memories made.

This is the crew, post two sheets of stickers and four or five beers later. Success.