Let's talk about Philly

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It’s been quite a while since my last entry. And exciting things have happened!

I’ve finished my third year of college, turned 21, and became President of Alpha Delta Mu, Beta Rho Chapter, our national social work honors society on campus. I’ve had lots of fun hanging out with my friends and family, helped successfully pull off our Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania Prom fundraiser event, and got my Lifesaver Training Certificate and saw my friends at Lavender Graduation (to sum it all up). 

Two weeks ago, Jess and I met our neighbors, Jake and Connor at the Rittenhouse Square festival where we got some free food, got to hang out in the park, and enjoy the nice weather. That Monday, the last day of the semester, the four of us hung out and played games. They are great neighbors, and we love their cat, Me-Mow, but unfortunately they are moving out next year, so we’ll have to travel across campus to see them.

Last week, during the last week of the semester, I went to lots of events on campus through work. First, on Tuesday, we had our Alpha Delta Mu, Beta Rho induction ceremony. At the event, I was inducted as the next president of the national social work honors society. It should be a fun new role to take on! Then, on Wednesday, we had our Lifesaver Training Certification ceremony where I received my certificate in how to deal with high risk students and the use of brief motivational interviewing to intervene. Later that day, we went to Lavender Graduation, where students that are graduating are recognized for their efforts in the LGBT community. Many of my friends from work were nominated, and it was great to be there for them.

Then last Thursday, it was my 21st birthday! I was so thankful to have awesome friends who went out to dinner with me: Jess, Kristina, Erika, Nicole, and Danielle. My first drink was a French Martini, which was different than I thought it was going to be. We went back to the apartment for cupcakes, and then I went to the local bar on campus, the Draught Horse, to meet up with some friends for some drinks. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with me!

The next day was PPSP’s Prom fundraiser event… PPSP Goes Gatsby! It turned out to be a very successful night and we raised over $1000! There was dancing, food, and a photo booth! It was really fun and our months of planning really paid off!

Then on Saturday, after Tim and I packed up everything to bring back to Lebanon, we went to Lindsey and Jay’s house for a mini birthday celebration with our families. It was a lot of fun and I loved seeing my cousins and aunt and uncle, as well as my parents before they left on their vacation!

This week so far I’ve been busy at work and unpacking everything and doing laundry. I need to start getting ready for my trip to Europe (I leave on 5/25)! We are going to Brussels, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, England, France, and Spain! Can’t wait!

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Such a great weekend. Friday, I spent the entire day in the apartment alone working on a video for a class project, which turned out really great. Then, I made some dinner for myself and had a relaxing night in watching some movies. 

On Saturday, it was time for my big 5k that I’d been training for (since I was SO not a runner prior to last semester). It was the Run or Dye race, and was held at Citizens Bank Park. I took the subway there with some friends, and after waiting in some longer lines, we finally were able to run! My goal was to run the entire thing in 40 minutes or less (I usually run a 12-13 minute mile) but I ended up finishing in 32 minutes — I was really excited about this! And we were completely full of colored dye powder when it was all said and done, but it was still really fun (despite the powder making me cough the rest of the day)! I came home and cleaned up before taking a train to Lancaster. Kristen picked me up, and then we visited with Lindsey, Jay and Jordan, before having dinner with the family and Tim. Then Tim and I went to the prayer vigil at church to see everyone! It was great talking with Kathy (shoutout for reading my blog every week!) and Erika, as well as seeing the Vogels. And there was a 5 week old kitten there, who looked like Ruby did as a kitten, and he was so cute I almost cried!

Sunday morning we went to church, and then had dinner at my parent’s house around 1 pm. The food was SO good, and I ate all of the things that I shouldn’t have, like mac-n-cheese! And then after visiting there, we went over to the Klahr’s house for a second dinner around 3:30 pm. Then we hid Easter eggs for Ava to find, which was so cute watching her not be able to find them! We helped, and she was so excited when she finally found them! Then, Erika and I drove back to Philly, and after getting stuck in a little bit of traffic, we were finally back at school.

It’s crazy that we only have 2 (kind of 3) weeks of school left! It’s that time where everything is crazy busy, but I still want to make sure to enjoy the nice weather!

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So… last weekend (April 5&6) was fun. On Saturday, I went shopping in Center City with Erika. We found some really great deals on stuff, and it was great to see each other (it had been about two weeks) and then we finished the day by having dinner at iSushi — it was really delicious! Then Sunday was spring cleaning — the apartment, new sheets, and I reorganized all my drawers! 

This past week, on Wednesday and Thursday, we held the Clothesline Project through the Wellness Resource Center. One of my best friends, Casey, organized everything and it turned out to be a really great success. If you want more information about the Clothesline Project, you can visit this link

Then on Thursday night, we were able to see Bill Clinton speak for free! Thanks Temple Law! He was really inspirational, and even though he only spoke for a short amount of time (and mainly about lawyer stuff), it was a cool experience. 

Friday I spent most of the day at Planned Parenthood volunteering and trying to get solicitations for our prom night fundraiser that we’re having on May 9! If you want more information about it or to make a donation, let me know! 

On Saturday, Jess and I met Casey and her roommate Amanda at the Cherry On Experience. This was an event sponsored by Temple in replacement of Spring Fling. We got free t-shirts, water ice, and a lot of cool activities. We also got to tie-dye our own shirts! Jess and I raced through a bouncy house, and she beat me! Then, Nicole, Jeff, Cody, Taylor and John showed up and we played girls against boys laser tag! It was so much more fun than I thought (and hard) considering it was outside during the daylight! Then after going back to the apartment, I had to do some grocery shopping and laundry, which after the entire day I was exhausted. I spent the night in by myself eating chocolate covered strawberries and watching a movie.

Today, Kristina and David picked Jess and I up and we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Fairmount Park. Unfortunately, the cherry blossom trees were not fully bloomed (I guess due to the weather being so cold for so long) but there were a few that were really pretty. There were a lot of vendors, people dressed up in Asian-style clothing, and expensive food. But it was a beautiful day and really nice to be outside and together.

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Tim and I spent the weekend celebrating our six year anniversary in Gettysburg! I came home on the bus Thursday night and Tim and I went and got some yummy dinner at a Chinese buffet before returning home for a night on the couch. Friday after Tim got home from work and we ate some leftovers, we drove to Gettysburg. The weather wasn’t great when we got there, and we really just wanted to relax, so we stayed in the hotel and watched ‘American Pickers’ on the history channel, our new favorite show. We got hungry again, and went to the grocery store and got some chicken, rice, and bologna (yum).

Saturday morning we woke up to it raining outside, but after eating breakfast at Perkins next door, we drove downtown. We decided to go to the Hall of President’s and First Ladies museum. They had figurines that were 1/3 the size of real life for the First Ladies, who were dressed in their inaugural gowns. A little creepy, but neat. Then we had a private tour of the President’s section. They had wax figures of all of the President’s (even Obama!) and they had them speak about their presidency. We traveled through five rooms to get to all of them. It was really interesting and I actually learned some neat stuff! Plus, they looked super realistic, which is impressive. We tried to go to the actual wax museum, but it was closed for renovations. So, we tried to go to the actual battlefields, but because of the rain we mainly drove around until we figured out where the visitor’s center was. We had lunch there and then bought tickets for their film, cyclorama and museum. The short film was really great and informative. The cyclorama was so fascinating, and as you can see in the panorama Tim took, it’s massive and very well painted. The museum was boring, but I generally think most museums are boring, so we got out of there kind of early.

We went back to the hotel to rest, and then went to dinner at General Picket’s Buffet. It was disgusting, and since we were already there, we ended up eating a bunch of dessert for dinner — which was obviously fine with me (I took a peppermint pill so everything was fair game). Can you say carrot cake? So delicious. Then we went back downtown to check out some of the shops that were still open. In the third shop we were in, we got a really cool history lesson about flags from an employee of the store. We learned more there in the hour that we chatted with him than we did all weekend. He knew so much and was really passionate about educating others (just my kind of person). It doubled as a jewelry store, so I got a new chain for a necklace that was broken (he even had really great input on that!) Tim and I agreed that speaking to him was our favorite part of the trip! We went back to the hotel for some snacks and ended up watching ‘Flipping Vegas,’ a design show until we fell asleep.

Sunday, we ate the continental breakfast at the hotel and drove back to Harrisburg. We had a few hours before I had to get on the megabus (which was 45 minutes late because of the weather) we snuggled on the couch with the cats — the perfect way to end the lazy weekend we had. Although it wasn’t exactly what I expected out of the weekend, it was still fun spending time together, which is really what matters.

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I have a lot of catching up to cover since my last post. Let’s see…

Two weekends ago (March 14), that Friday night Tim drove to Philly to pick me up, and we went to go visit our friends Ed and Allison at their place in New Jersey. We ended up watching a movie Friday night, and going to bed early. Saturday morning, after breakfast, the four of us went to a Pitch-n-Putt golf course near their house. I ended up coming in second out of the four of us. I had some pretty nice shots every now and then. It’s actually a lot of fun and I want to do it more so I can get good at my short game. Then that afternoon we all kind of fell asleep watching TV, and after we woke up we had dinner. That night we went to a bar and restaurant somewhere in PA for a Saint Patrick’s Day festival. You didn’t have to be 21 to go in, so I was able to be there. There were a ton of people there, all wearing green, as you’d expect. Outside they had a heated tent with a band playing, Slamm, and they were amazing. They played continuously for about an hour, took a short break, and started up again. They were all cover songs, which made it fun to sing and dance along with. 

Sunday morning Tim drove me back to my apartment, where I got to see Neha, my roommate from freshman year. She was visiting with us and we hadn’t seen her in a few months, so it was a great visit. We spent most of Sunday afternoon talking, and then we watched the last Harry Potter movie, at Jess’ request (we finally finished watching all of them!). 

This past week, I was really busy at work because we had our annual event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. It is an event where men a mile around campus in high heel shoes and show their support against sexual assault and violence. This year we had around 180 men walk, lots of female volunteers, and great speeches! I am so proud of everyone, especially my boss (and friend) Ashley for organizing the event. I was so happy to help out (my main job is organizing our 240 pairs of shoes we own!) and am even more thrilled about how successful the event was! Our peers at the Wellness Resource Center are the best and it was definitely a team effort!

Then, this Friday, after I volunteered at Planned Parenthood and ran 2 miles at the gym (I’m running my first 5k on April 19, so I’m in training mode!) we went to celebrate our friend Nicole’s 21st birthday! It was such a fun night and I am so happy that I got to share in the fun with everyone! We were picked up on campus in a party bus (it was awesome) and taken to her parent’s house (which is near the airport). There was food and fun there before we were taken to two different bars. Once again, these were bars where you didn’t have be 21 to go in, so the 5 of us that weren’t 21 still got to hang out. The first bar had Karaoke on Friday nights, and of course we had to sing. Nicole wanted to sing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and we did! It was a lot of fun. After that, we were taken to another place where there was a DJ. There were a lot of locals there, and they seemed confused when we all walked in, but eventually everyone was dancing together, having a great time. We were then taken back to Temple where we hung out at Jeff’s apartment for a little bit, before going home to sleep. Once again, it was so much fun! Happy birthday Nicole!

This upcoming weekend I will be going home for Tim and I to celebrate our six year anniversary! We are going to Gettysburg for the weekend, which I’ve never been, so I’m very excited! 

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Last week was Spring Break, and it turned out to be a really great, relaxing time. But prior to leaving for break, that Friday night I went with some of the girls from HEART to go see Drexel University’s version of The Vagina Monologues. It was fun to go see another production and be able to compare it to ours. Then on Saturday, Grandma, Mary and Kristen came down to Philly so we could go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. It wasn’t as interesting as some of the previous years, but it was beautifully simple. We all got pretty worn out there, so we were happy to go back to Lebanon then. That night, Kristen decided she wanted to get a tattoo, so Mom and I went with. It ended up looking really good, but it sure did look painful.

For the rest of the week, I split my time between staying at my parent’s house, and staying at Tim’s house. Sunday night Tim and I watched the Oscars, which were disappointing (obviously because Leo didn’t win). On Tuesday I visited with Ma. On Wednesday I worked from home, visited with Grandma and Papa, and then went to Lindsey, Jay and Jordan’s to have dinner and watch Frozen. Then Thursday I went back up to Tim’s house. Friday I decided to finish painting the bathroom, make cookies, and a curtain, and then we had dinner with our friends Karyn and Tyler. We finished the night by watching a movie, ‘Kinsey,’ that I had to watch for class, but it was actually really great. Then Saturday, we finished painting and putting the bathroom together, and then had dinner and went bowling with some friends. On Sunday, Erika and I drove back to Philly, and I finally got around to doing my homework. 

This week will be busy, but I’m excited for Friday because Neha is coming and so is Tim. Then Tim and I were going to visit our friends Ed and Allison in New Jersey. Can’t wait for that!

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I forgot to post last week, so this one is a little late. On Tuesday of last week (2/11) I spent most of my day at work organizing a bunch of shoes that came in for our annual event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. I’m really looking forward to it, and we’ve got less than a month until the event now. Then later that day, a few of us from the Wellness Resource Center got to have an informal chat with Mike Dormitz, a speaker of the Date Safe Project. He travels the world speaking about consent and healthy relationships through the event, “Can I Kiss You?” Casey and I were lucky enough to be invited to have dinner with him and our bosses, which was a really great time. Then he presented his event, and we were given a signed copy of his book — which I look forward to reading sometime soon.

Then on Friday (2/14) I took the train home to visit Tim. We had dinner at a small Vietnamese restaurant near his house in Harrisburg, which was delicious. We went home and watched a documentary, “Unhung Hero,” which I would highly recommend! Saturday morning we cleaned up the house and finally got all of the boxes unpacked and put away (yay!). Then Tanner and Strauss came over, which it was so good to see them, especially Tanner because he’s been in China since Thanksgiving. We had dinner and played some games. On Sunday, Tim and I went to Lebanon to visit his parents, and then have dinner with my parents. Mary drove me back to Philly on Monday.

This week has gone by pretty fast, and I’ve been busy with volunteering at Planned Parenthood and at work. Yesterday I volunteered in the morning, and then substituted two classes where I presented “Test Your Stress Smarts,” a program held by the Wellness Resource Center. It’s always really fun, but teaching the same thing twice in a row can be a bit much — I now know how teachers feel! Then later that night, Danielle picked Jess, Kristina and I up and we had dinner at Cantina, one of the best Mexican restaurants. 

Because it was so nice today, Jess and I decided to venture out of the house for a little bit. We walked down the street to get frozen yogurt, and after sitting outside for only a few minutes, it was too windy that we had to retreat back inside. Too bad it’s going to snow again this week… I just can’t wait for spring!

Next weekend Grandma, Mary and Kristen are coming to Philly on Saturday for the Flower Show and then taking me back to Lebanon because it will be my spring break for a week — can’t wait! 

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I had such an amazing experience being a part of The Vagina Monologues! I knew after seeing it performed last year at Temple, that I had to at least try out. When I found out I got the part, “My Angry Vagina,” I was thrilled and so nervous (I’ve never been on stage before). But after many rehearsals, we all came together and made a beautiful show. Our directors, Khaliah and Jana, always said, “we are activists first” and I think that’s exactly what this entire production is all about. This show is not just about vagina’s, it’s about women, and the struggles that they go through. These struggles may be funny and silly things, while others are heart-wrenching and terrible events that some women are subjected or forced into. This show will make you laugh, make you cry, and open your eyes to multiple experiences of women all over the world.

I am so thrilled to say that for the firs time at Temple, we sold out all three nights! Thank you to everyone who came out and made this such an awesome experience for us. Special thanks to my friends and family who came to see me — Erika, Jess, Kristina, Nicole, Thanh, Tim, Mom, Grandma, Aunt Mary, Renee, all the other HEART peers — it meant so much that you came to support this cause. Also thanks to everyone in the cast for being such amazing, beautiful, talented ladies and for supporting me and everyone else in the cast. I especially wouldn’t have been able to get through this week without Casey and Jamie, my two main ladies, who told me I could perform each night even though I was sick, and barely made it through my monologue on Friday without losing my voice and trying not to cough. You are both such amazing women and I am so proud to call you two of my best friends. 

That pretty much sums up my entire week, considering we had rehearsal Tuesday and Wednesday, and the show Thursday-Saturday. Tim came to spend the weekend and keep me company basically while I sat in bed all day Saturday and Sunday drinking tea and trying not to lose my voice.

Looking forward to getting rid of this cold this week (I think I’m going to Student Health tomorrow morning and asking for something stronger than whatever I’m taking) and then going home this coming weekend to see Tim.

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This was a fun weekend. Friday night, after having volunteering at Planned Parenthood, going to a meeting, and having Vagina Monologues Rehearsal, we went to Kristina’s boyfriend, David’s 22nd birthday party. Although we didn’t know too many people there, it was easy to make friends and we had a really fun time. 

On Saturday, I had rehearsal again from 11 am - 2 pm. I came home to relax before my Mom, Dad, their friends Mike and Suzie, their nephew Austin, and Erika and I went to Chinatown for dinner. We went to a place called Wong Wong, one of Mike and Suzie’s favorites. After a few appetizers came out, we saw some commotion in the street. A policeman came in, and we found out there was a gas leak outside. We were told to leave the restaurant before our main dishes came out. So… after walking around the area for a while, we found a restaurant with only a 30 minute wait. As you can see in the one picture, the over 21 crowd took their BYOB and continued to drink in the street. About an hour after leaving the first restaurant, we finally ate dinner. It was delicious, and although they didn’t get to eat their duck at the other place, they ate an entire fish (eyeballs and all). After dinner, Erika and I came back to relax and have a girl’s night.

Then on Sunday we did some homework, made dinner, and watched the Superbowl. We took a quiz on Buzzfeed that told us we should root for the Seakhawks… glad we did, because they crushed it at that game.

After waking up today and realizing how much it snowed, I was glad I wasn’t supposed to leave the house until 4 pm. Luckily though, Temple cancelled everything after 3 pm, so I technically didn’t have to leave the house today. Instead, after doing our homework, Jess and I finished Season 2 of True Blood. It’s been a good day.

This week will be really busy! I have full dress rehearsals for the Vagina Monologues both tomorrow and Wednesday, then the show starts and runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I’m especially excited for Saturday because Mom, Grandma, Mary, Tim, my roommates and some friends are coming to see it! If you’re in the area and free, you should totally come!

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I’ve been really, really busy since my last post. While still at school, Jess, Kristina and I went fabric shopping (for the chairs I reupholstered) and also ice skating! I then finished my fifth semester of college with a 3.92 GPA, which is awesome, and then came home to see my friends and family. I was able to see all of my best friends from high school, including Krissy, Megan Y., Erika (who I see at school too!), Megan C. and Emily. I also got to see my awesome family members as well as Tim’s family multiple times. And obviously my cats I got to snuggle with many days over break. 

My main accomplishment over break was refinishing a 60 year old table and six chairs. I fully sanded them and stained them (each multiple times) as well as reupholstered them with new fabric and batting. It took basically my entire break, a few days here and there, but we finished it! I also spent a lot of my time knitting, and I learned how to cable knit (Grandma taught me!) and made headband/ear warmers for myself and my friends for Christmas.

Tim and I also did a lot of entertaining at the new house. We cooked many dinners for a lot of different wonderful people, and even made our first pork roast, with a delicious glaze, that came out awesome. That night we had our unofficial housewarming party with friends and family. 

Later in the break, Jess and Kristina came to visit. We went to the Farm Show, but got stuck in a lot of traffic, although we were still able to see some of the vendors. It was so great to see them and I’m so happy they came to visit. 

It was also so great to spend time with my family. One night, especially, we had family night with Lindsey and Jay and Jordan at our house, and after the meal, we played a game, Headbandz, and Head’s Up. We laughed so hard and had so much fun, it was one of my favorite nights. 

Lastly, it was amazing to be able to spend as much time with Tim and the cats as I was able to. We finally got all settled into the house and have plans to make it such an awesome home (including painting this spring/summer after make some adjustments!)

Classes start on Tuesday, so does Vagina Monologues practices (which I have a part in… show starts on Feb. 6) and work. I should be pretty busy, but I love being busy so I’m ready to get this semester started.