Endless Bliss | Happy Lifestyle Blog: 2013

goodbye 2013.

Where did 2013 go? No, like, seriously. This has been the fastest year of my life, I swear. Maybe because time flies when you're having fun? Though some days were obviously not very fun. Thanks to Rachel from Sunshine and Sinatra (aka one of my favorite bloggers/my blog soul sister - she just gets me), I decided to share my 2013 with y'all. Get ready for a lot of random.

I brought in the new year with my friend, Katherine, after work of course because I was working front desk at the same hotel where I currently work. I loved working the front desks with my girls, Claire and Yas'Mine. I wrote my first blog post about something a guest said to me. It was a dumb post, but oh well. My hedgie graduated from kitten food to cat food (awwww). Lots of crafting. Not a very exciting month. I joined a gym like 90% of the people in the world who make getting fit their new year's resolution. I also started going to hip hop dance classes with my sister. So random. 

I celebrated my third Valentine's Day with Jon and joined the iPhone family. I went to the worst Mardi Gras parade I've ever been to. Seriously. I got like 2 beads. Jon turned 23, but I didn't get to celebrate with him because we were (still are) long-distance, and I was sad, but he didn't care because he worked. I started taking watercolor painting classes. It was hard, but fun. 

The official grand opening of my hotel happened, and it was the funnest day on the job. My friend and co-worker, Claire, and I broke out into song at the front desk pretty regularly. I finished my first watercolor painting. It was a magnolia. I think I only saw Jon once this month and it was to go to a play that someone gave Jon tickets for. 

I had a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie marathon with my friend, Sarah, aka the only person in my life that appreciates my love for MKA. Jon and I acted like tourists in my town every time he came to visit, and I started my second watercolor painting of a seashell (it still remains unfinished).

I took the best vaca ever with muh guhs in TASK (Tiffany.Amanda.Sarah.Katherine). Seriously. It was a blast. A very unpredictable adventure. Can we go back? We also made a pit stop in New Orleans on the way home. I deactivated Facebook for awhile because I was spending way too much time on it. I started to get really unhappy with my job because I was doing something that I could've done without my college degree. I was so unhappy, in fact, that I decided I want to move to Australia for a year, and I started making preparations to do so. My sister got her senior ring, making me feel old. I saw my friend, Tra, in Wal-Mart. This is significant because he currently resides in California. I also went to my first PRIDE Awards for work.

June was a really hard month for me. I was unhappy for several reasons. I started putting all of my time into planning for Australia, trying to get out of the country ASAP. My sister turned 17. I was supposed to go to Galveston with her, but she got stuck in Florida, so I convinced Jon to go with me even though he hates being spontaneous. I got to see my best friend from middle school in Houston, and it was a blast! My friend and co-worker, Yas'Mine, had her baby shower. This is the month when I seriously got into blogging.

Celebrated my friend, Sarah's, birthday complete with a birthday suite and a night on the town. It was a night full of laughs and wine. I also got a promotion at work! My first promotion ever and the first promotion in the hotel. I was so excited. I have the best office-mate ever, and I laugh every day, even though I was super awkward at first. Still awkward in general though.

I went to Ruston to visit Jon, and we went indoor camping, and it was a blast. I also decided not to go to Australia. Jon refused to weigh in on my decision, but I was having this internal debate ever since I got my promotion. Since I decided not to go down under, I decided to plan a trip to Europe with my sister using the money I had saved up for Australia. I celebrated my friend, Amanda's, birthday. She had a pool party with a DJ and everything. Twas a blast. Flitwick turned 1. I saw my friend, Lucas, and his band, The Larangos, play. Oh and the NSYNC reunion happened, which was pretty life changing and worth mentioning.

I moved into an apartment with my friend, Amanda. It took me weeks to unpack because I was busy pretty much every weekend this month. I went to Austin with my sister for the Austin Teen Book Festival, and it was the best nerdy bookworm thing I've ever done. I got to meet a bunch of authors, and it was seriously a bookworm's dream come true. I ran walked my first 5k, Run or Dye, with my good friend, Claire. 

I finally finished unpacking all of my stuff at my new place. I dressed up twice for Halloween, and my costumes were pretty freaking awesome if I do say so myself. I also started reading for a fun a lot more! Nerd.

I saw Jon more this month than any other other month of the year, and I loved it. Obvs. Jon and I went to our first opera to see my co-worker, Jimi, in it. It was really awesome! Jon and I celebrated Thanksgiving together and we went to a Tech football game (actually less than half a game cause it was so freaking cold). I also saw my graduation brick! Thanksgiving with the family was good and I house-sat for the first time.

This month seriously flew by. I went to my first company Christmas party and won the ugly Christmas sweater contest. I celebrated my 24th birthday. Once with my family and Jon, again with my co-workers, and then again with TASK at brunch. My friend, Katherine, also had a birthday and turned 23. She had a Rock Band/Just Dance party. My friend, Sarah, had an ugly Christmas sweater party, and it was super fun. Christmas with the family and mom's friends was lovely and included a very competitive game of Pictionary. Jon and I celebrated 3 years!
Tonight: Night on the town with my girls? Tbd.
It's been a pretty good year, and I'm so excited to see what 2014 brings!
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after all this time, i'm still into you {3 years}

Today is my 3-year anniversary of dating Jon. This weekend, Jon asked me what he thought my life would be like if we hadn't started dating. I thought about it for awhile, and I honestly can't even imagine. I don't mean that in a cheesy way; I really mean it. There are so many parts of the past three years that I don't know if I could've made it through without him, and I'm glad that I'll never have to (okay, that was cheesy).

We didn't do anything major to celebrate our anniversary. He came and spent the weekend with me, and I slept for most of it (I really don't know why I was so tired). Yesterday, we went out for sushi (we always eat sushi on anniversaries because it's my favorite) and watched Scooby Doo (how lucky am I to be dating someone who is willing to watch Scooby Doo episodes on Netflix with me?). It was a perfect day to me.

Since I have nothing super exciting to share about our anniversary celebration, I thought I would share our relationship's journey through song, because music is the best (and this is the closest I can get to my life being a musical).

For the Nights I Can't Remember - Hedley

During the summer of junior year, Jon came up to Ruston and we spent some time together, just the two of us. I knew I kind of liked him a little bit, just because we had been spending a lot of time together, but one day, we decided to go to Monroe together, and I was just really excited about this song because I wanted him to listen to it. When it was playing it in the car, something hit me that I really, really (like, really) liked Jon. Mind you, I had a crush on Jon whenever I first met him. He was dating someone else and then after they broke up, I started dating someone. We always flirted a little though (oops, sorry not sorry exes), especially after we exchanged numbers. We took a lot of the same classes during our junior year (I copied his schedule on the sly. I promise I'm not a stalker), and after spending all that time together, the bigger crush started developing.

Before we started dating. Probably the first time we ever held hands-ish.
I Should Be Sleeping - Emerson Drive

When Jon and I first started "talking" (or whatever the kids are calling it these days), I used to call him at ungodly times at night so that my roommates wouldn't know that I was talking to him. We're talking 3 am here. Eventually Jon sent me this song and said it reminded him of me. 

The Only Exception - Paramore

I listened to this song on repeat when I was trying to get the nerve to tell our group of friends that I had a crush on Jon. I even tweeted some of the lyrics at one point. 

Enchanted - Taylor Swift

For our first Valentine's Day, Jon went above and beyond. He did a surprise picnic at our school's greenhouse, and (with the help of one of my roommates), he put together a scavenger hunt with Taylor Swift lyrics. It was magical.

Until You - Dave Barnes

Jon and I said "I love you" after dating for four months. This song has nothing to do with that, but it describes how I feel about him.

This picture was taken on the day that we said "I love you" for the first time.

Lucky - Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat

One day while we were driving, Jon and I decided that this was going to be "our song." We have completely different tastes in music, but when I had him listen to this one, he said that he really liked it, and now it's our song. 

My Kind of Crazy - Brantley Gilbert

Jon said that when he listened to this song for the first time, he immediately thought of me. I guess I am a little nuts sometimes, but Jon always thinks it's cute. Also, our first concert together was Brantley Gilbert and Billy Currington, and he sang this song to me while Brantley was singing it onstage.

One of my roommates took a picture of him singing to me. Aww.
Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer

One time, Jon and I went to see my friend, Lucas, play at a bar in Ruston. Lucas did a rendition of this song for us, and changed the words to "Kiss Jon." 

Firefly - Jimmy Needham

Jon and I are always talking about our future together.We say things like "our future kids" and say random things about our future wedding and where we're going to live and how we'll decorate our house. Nothing ever serious or set in stone, but one time, we had a long conversation about having this as the song that we danced to at our wedding and our friend Tyler would sing it for us. We've picked a different song since though, and of course that changes.

I Want Crazy - Hunter Hayes

When I first heard this song, I immediately thought of Jon, because I felt like every lyric shouted everything I felt about our relationship. Literally every word. Hunter Hayes knows.

6 Months - Hey Monday

Really, the song just says it all.

Play It Again - Luke Bryan

Every time a song comes on that I like, I always turn it up and say "This is my song," and Jon said this song describes me perfectly because apparently, every song is "my song."

Still Into You - Paramore

The first time I ever heard this song, I sent it to Jon and told him that I thought of him when I heard it. It's so true, and it felt like we went full circle with Paramore in our relationship. 

Jon makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and he makes me feel special every day. I can't believe we've already been together for three years! Yay! Happy anniversary, Jon!

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the best time of year for the family.

I can't believe I went this entire week without blogging. Part of me is super disappointed in myself, and the other part of me is incredibly happy because I didn't spend any of my time stressing about it. I got a lot of Christmas shopping done, and I had an amazing time celebrating the holiday season with my family.

Oops. Half of our tree was unfluffed. Oh well.
My family and I ate a somewhat Christmas-y, but not really, Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day, we opened presents and took horrible pictures together complete with bedhead, no bras, and pajamas (none of which will be shown here). Then my sister and I ate some breakfast together prepared by my step-dad while my mom was getting ready for work. Unfortunately, mom usually has to work all the major holidays because she works at the casino. 
After breakfast, sister and I changed into our new PJ bottoms and watched some Christmas movies together, including one of my favorites, Eloise at Christmastime, which was a gift that they gave me. I almost forgot how much I loved it. It's so brilliant, and Eloise is such a little sass. Would it be weird to say I want her life? Maybe she's my inspiration for wanting to live in a hotel. We also got to FaceTime my brother, who is currently deployed. His Christmas was coming to an end while we were just getting started.
Mickey Mouse pajama bottoms!

I haven't seen my brother since I graduated from high school 5 1/2 years ago, so I was extremely happy to see his face.
Around 6, we went over to my mom's friend's house and had Christmas dinner with them. Usually when I go over to my mom's friends' houses with them, I just sit and watch TV, eat a lot and play on my phone. Not this time. We got into an intense game of Pictionary. At first, I was like, nah. I don't want to play, but then my competitive side bursted out. We played girls versus boys, and the boys were in the lead for most of the game, but the girls ended up taking it home. It was a blast, and I decided that I want all of my future Christmases to include board games, because they're so much fun. 
She looks older than me in this picture, but I'm actually older than her...by 6 years. Oh.
We enjoy taking random selfies.

My step-dad and little sister!

It's not Christmas without wine. #amiright?

I hope y'all had an amazing time celebrating the holidays with your families. Merry Christmas!
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the truth about santa.

I found out that Santa wasn't real in the third grade. I believed in all of the make-believe characters for about an average amount of time. I feel like I found out that they weren't real at the correct ages. Santa was the last to go though. I don't remember how I found out about the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny. 

Apparently I should've listened to my original instincts and not trust him. Silly me.
I was pretty sassy when it came to the tooth fairy. In the few years that I lived with just my dad and my older brother, I feel like my dad did a pretty awesome job keeping all of the characters alive. The tooth fairy always gave me a dollar when I lost a tooth, but one time I wrote the tooth fairy a note saying that I wanted $2 instead of $1. I really don't know why. I mean, I was 6. What did I need money for anyways? My dad (or the tooth fairy rather) gave me $2, and I was pretty dang happy.

I don't remember the Easter bunny being a huge thing. I only have one vivid getting a basket from the Easter bunny once, and it was when I was living in Arkansas with my dad, step-mom, and 3 brothers and sisters. That was probably the last time we got anything from the Easter bunny.

Don't let the shirt fool you. I do not like cats. I did, however, wear a lot of hand-me-downs.

I think it was 3rd grade when I found out about Santa. My step-sister, step-brother, and I had made all of these cute crafts for Santa at school. Also, at our house, we didn't leave out milk and cookies for Santa. We left out sweet potato pie and something to drink (I think it was wine, but I don't really remember). Everything Santa related went according to plan. It wasn't until about a week later that we found out the devastating news. We found all of the crafts that we made for Santa in a kitchen drawer. We asked our parents if Santa was real, and they told us the devastating truth. So sad. It's a funny story to look back on though.

Notice Rocko's Modern Life on the telly and those awesome handmade candy canes on the tree. 
How did you find out about Santa?
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the fault in our stars {book review}


Favorite character: Augustus

Favorite quotes (there are literally so many good ones):

“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” 

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” 

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” 

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 

Book Summary from Goodreads
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts
When there's a YA book that gets a lot of hype, I always feel like I need to read it to see what the hype is about. And when that said book has been read by two of my friends and they both say how awesome it is, I, of course, need to try to read that book ASAP. When I had a reunion with a few of my college friends, we had a nice little chat about books (I really value friends that share my love for books. Some people just don't understand!), and my friends, Mandy and Tyler, had both read The Fault in Our Stars, and I just felt like I needed to read it after our conversation about it. The book definitely lived up to the hype of both the critics and them.

I listened to this on audio book, and man. It was hard to get through. Not because the storyline was bad or anything like that. More like, it made the sad parts even sadder. It was like Hazel was talking to me personally about all of these things that happened in her life, and when the sad parts came, I cried. I'm not even gonna lie. This book brought tears to my eyes.

From the get go, I was really attached to Hazel. I mean, she's a young girl with cancer. Then she meets Augustus, who is in remission. And oh. My. Goodness. If they aren't the perfect couple, then no such thing exists. For a book about cancer, I sure smiled and laughed a lot throughout this book. Both of them are so witty and amazing. I officially deemed Augustus my book boyfriend, in spite of what happens at the end of the book.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. John Green is brilliant. Like, why haven't I read this book until now (okay, more rambling. Sorry). I think these characters are easy to relate to in so many ways. They are both just trying to make the best out of the worst possible situation. Hazel has been terminal since her first diagnosis. All she wanted to do was sit at home and watch reality TV with her parents. All her parents wanted was for her to go make friends and have a life.

Augustus's struggle was different because things were looking up for him. He was in remission. He fell fast and hard for Hazel. His biggest problem was figuring out how he would be remembered to everyone in the world. Hazel didn't care about that. She just wanted to die knowing that she left a positive light on the few people she cared about.

For the skeptics who don't want to read this book because it's about cancer: the book isn't really about cancer. I mean, yeah, cancer is a big deal in the book, but in my eyes, it's secondary to the relationship of Augustus and Hazel.

Easily and happily giving this book a 5 out of 5. TFIOS sent me on an emotional rollercoaster. It was full of extremely awesome and happy moments, moments that warmed my heart, moments of pure anger, blissful moments, and, of course, the dreaded devastatingly sad moments. I loved reading from the perspective of Hazel. I felt like we were friends, and I was just sucked into this storyline that I didn't want to get out of. The voices in the novel are just raw and real and no one tiptoes around the things that everyone thinks you're supposed to tiptoe around.

The movie poster came out yesterday, and it's freaking precious! Everyone's talking smack about the tagline on it: "One sick love story," but I think it's perfect. Clever. It makes a lot of sense to me, so I don't know why everyone is so offended by it.

For more information about John Green, visit his website, follow him on twitter, or like him on Facebook.

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merry mail! {ornament exchange}

I love crafting even though I'm not particularly good at it. Usually my crafts are made pretty hastily, because I want to get things done quickly rather than taking my time and making things look perfect. Regardless, I'm pretty happy with the ornaments I made for my partners for the Merry Mail Ornament Exchange. So happy, in fact, that I almost went and bought myself another clear ornament so I could make one for myself, but I didn't, though I'm still temped.

For the Merry Mail Ornament Exchange, Kenzie from Chasing Happy (seriously an awesome blog, y'all. If you haven't already, go check it out. Kenzie's blog is just full of so much positivity, optimism and amazingness. You won't be disappointed) grouped us together, and I got grouped with two people who are both from the south, so I was excited that we all had that in common. My group consisted of Keizra from 27th and Luxe and Meghan from eat.live.make.

Here are the lovely ornaments that they sent me:

Keizra's ornament

Meghan's ornament

Aren't they fabulous? How creative, right?

I also want to share the ones that I made for them! They were so easy (and super fun) to make!

All you need is:
Clear ornament
Hot glue gun

1. Take the top off of the ornament and pour a little hairspray into the ornament. Swish it around and make sure that every surface is covered.

2. Pour out any excess hairspray into the sink or paper towel.

3. Pour glitter into the ornament and move it around to try to cover the inside. Repeat this until the entire inside of the ornament is covered.

4. Take your hot glue gun and glue the feathers onto the top as desired.

5. Replace the ornament top.

6. Take stickers and spell out whatever you would like onto the ornament.

7. Tie some ribbon at the top, and voila! Done! How fabulous!
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cinder {book review}


Favorite Quote: "It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth."

Favorite Character: Iko and Cinder

Book Summary from Marissa Meyer's Website
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
My Thoughts
I first heard about The Lunar Chronicles series when I decided to go to the Austin Teen Book Festival back in September. I thought it sounded interesting because it was based off of the famed fairy tales, but I didn't think I would like it enough to buy it. When I heard Marissa Meyer talking about at the panels, I became fascinated with the series, and I wished I had more money so I could buy both Cinder and Scarlet

I became skeptical again when I first started reading the book. I was afraid that because it was a retelling of Cinderella, I would eventually get bored because the plot would be predictable. I also wasn't sure how much I would enjoy reading about a main character who was a cyborg mechanic. A couple chapters in, I couldn't put it down.

Cinder's life is, of course, similar to that of Cinderella's. Apart from the obvious cyborg mechanic situation, she does have a dead father, an evil step-mother, two step-sisters, and the interest of the prince that everyone else is pawning over. That's pretty much where the similarities stop. In the book, Cinder only has one evil step-sister and is actually quite attached to her other step-sister, Peony, who happens to be her only human friend. Cinder also has a companion named Iko who serves as the family's android, a servant of sorts.

Can I just say that Marissa Meyer is a genius? I mean, people have done so many retellings of Cinderella, but no one has branched out quite as much as Meyer has. She really pulls you into this world full of cyborgs and androids, and it's so easy to get lost in it. My mind was going crazy trying to picture the brilliance of the world that Meyer created in her mind.

I loved that this book wasn't just about Cinder escaping her horrible family and trying to fall in love with the prince. It's filled with several twists and turns - a plague that's been affecting Earth for over a decade, the evil Lunar queen who is determined to become the empress of Beijing, the mystery of Cinder's past, not to mention, unexpected people keeping unexpected secrets. 

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. I know the obvious audience for this book would be females due to its Cinderella roots, but I really think that males would enjoy this book too. I mean, cyborgs, evil people, deadly plagues? What guy wouldn't love that? I'm really looking forward to reading the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Scarlet, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

For more information about Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles, visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.
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So I know that a lot of bloggers like to get philosophical and deep on their birthdays and make a list of things that they learned in however many years they've been living and whatnot. Instead of doing that, I'm just going to tell you about all of the awesome gifts that I got for my birthday. That's philosophical too, right? No? Oh well. Here's me drinking a strawberry margarita. And yes, I did get carded.

Yesterday, I turned 24. I guess I really am turning into an adult because I didn't make plans for my birthday. This year, I went out to dinner with my family, and Jon came into town for the weekend. I had a lot of fun, but I didn't celebrate my birthday like I have in years past with nights on the town and vodka. Instead, I ate sushi and watched The Conjuring, which I did not find very scary by the way, on the night before my birthday.

On the day of my actual birthday, I went to see my friend graduate and spent a few hours with her family, which was lovely, and then after Jon left, I went to spend a few hours with mine (and I watched Once Upon a Time and Revenge, and both of those shows are just making me so mad and stressed. Grr).

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I got to have a mini reunion with some of my college friends, and my friend, Anamaria, gave me my birthday present early, and man, what an awesome gift!

She got me Cassadee Pope's new album, signed by Cassadee Pope herself. And let me just clarify something here, I've loved Cassadee Pope since her Hey Monday days. I turned a few of my friends onto Hey Monday, and when I made videos and such, I would put Hey Monday songs in the background and force people to listen to them. My love for her grew after watching her on The Voice, and of course I rooted for her the whole way through. I'm so so soooo jealous that Anamaria got to meet her!

Anyway, she also got Jenae Cherry to send me a signed copy of her new album as well, and Jenae sent a sweet sweet birthday card too! It was such a surprise, and it was so amazing! Anamaria and I met Jenae Cherry (now Brach, newly married and such. Awww) when we went to see The JaneDear Girls in concert. Jenae opened for them. We met her and she was super sweet, and I bought her album and she signed it and took pics with us. And then a few months later, she came back and opened for Gloriana, and we were so excited to see her again! You must must must go listen to her and buy her new album. My favorites are "Around" and "We Just Do." So awesome.

First meeting after the JaneDear Girls concert.

Second meeting after opening for Gloriana

She wrote me a really sweet note in the card.

My sister got me Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley, which you may have noticed was on my wish list! When she ordered it, they didn't give you a choice as to who was on the front, so she just crossed her fingers. As luck would have it, she got Mary-Kate, and Mary-Kate is my fave, so I was super excited!

Jon shopped from my Amazon wishlist. So smart. Chamber of Secrets is the only Harry Potter book that I don't have (or didn't have), and so I was so happy to finally complete my collection! Twenty years later (or so it seems). And Dollhouse is one of my favorite shows (so under-appreciated!), and I already had the first season, so he got me the second (and last, unfortunately) season. Yay yay yay!

I also got some lovely cards from Jon's family and some Europe money! Eternally grateful.

I wrote this entry last night, but I wanted to add this little bit today because it's so awesome. When I walked into my office this morning, it was all decorated with balloons and such thanks to my lovely co-workers. They all pitched in and bought me an APPLE TV!!! I'm freaking excited about it, and I can't wait to go home and play with it.

I love when my birthday rolls around because I just feel such an outpouring of love. I got phone calls from my dad, my grandma (who I haven't talked to since I was last in South Carolina. Too long!), and my best friend in California. And of course so much social media love. I know people think it's cheesy to comment on someone's Facebook on their birthday, but I think everyone smiles when they read all of the birthday comments. I mean, really.

I had such a lovely 24th birthday, and I loved celebrating with a few of my favorite people. I'm excited to see what this next year has in store for me!
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