As I’m sure you are all well aware by now, I recently turned 16 years old, an occasion I have been anxiously awaiting for what feels like forever. So far, 16 has not disappointed… At all! Quite honestly, I have had the most amazing two weeks since the highly anticipated 16th birthday, and the greatness will no be regressing any time soon if the past few weeks serve as any testament to the next year and beyond. I am so excited to share all that I am working on and how God has miraculously moved in my life; but for today, I wanted to share all the details of my 16th birthday celebrations.

This year, my birthday fell on a Monday, a reality which I was totally dreading until my parents made an agreement with me. The agreement stated that I would go to school on Monday (my birthday) and celebrate with my friends, and then come home that night, go out, and not go to school the following day, meaning that I wouldn’t have to do any homework and could stay out as long as I wanted. This, to me, seemed like a great bargain, so the whole birthday falling on a Monday didn’t really seem so bad after that.

I woke up to an extremely enthusiastic family and opened 40% of my presents. It sounds super specific LOL, but there is a method to my madness. I decided on opening 40% of my presents before school, and then come home after and open the other 60%. I’m crazy, I know, but I actually really like doing this haha. Anyway, so I opened SOME of my presents, got ready, went to school, and was greeted by extremely excited friends. At my school, we have a tradition in which your friends decorate your locker with wrapping paper, pictures, and ribbons for your birthday. And this year, my friends did a great job at matching my locker to my personality with the perfect embarrassing to cute pictures ratio.

On the day of my birthday, Law and Order: SVU were filming on our block. Movies and TV shows quite often film in or around our school building, but this situation was extra exciting for most. As someone who doesn’t watch the show, I was thoroughly confused when my friends attempted to explain it to me, but was still excited nonetheless. After being serenaded by my Trig teacher in several languages (this really happened), and a hilarious lunch and free period, one of my best friends from school Maggie and I were walking to her train when we literally ran into Ice-T on the street. Maggie was seriously starstruck so I did all the talking but we got a picture with him and it was such a whirlwind but still great (quick side note, Ice-T was honestly the nicest person. He was so sweet to us and stopped for everyone that asked for pictures even though he was on his break. I became an instant fan haha).

After that crazy experience, and a mandatory Starbucks pitstop, I made it home and opened the remaining 60% of my presents, and face-timed my grandparents to open their presents. I was so blown away by the generosity of my family, and felt so overwhelmed with love on my special day.

For dinner, I got ready in all my new clothes and accessories and headed downtown to the cutest little pink Italian restaurant called Pietro Nolita. It was honestly the cutest place, and as a self-confessed pink and Italian food expert, it went above and beyond in both areas.

After dinner, it was straight to Black Tap. If you aren’t aware, Black Tap is the super trendy place where everyone gets the extravagant “freak-shakes” that I am sure you have all seen on Instagram somewhere. I had high expectations, and it still surpassed all of them. It was amazing, and we didn’t even have to wait in line. I guess it was a cold Monday night, but the fact that we got seated straight away was nothing short of a miracle.

After this night, I thought my birthday was coming to a close. I figured that I had all year to celebrate, so I thought that the celebrations for now were over. Little did I know, however, that my parents and best friends had planned the most beautiful surprise party for me.

That Saturday night, thinking I was walking into a dinner with some good friends, I instead walked into an apartment full of the people I love most. I still cannot believe what happened that night, and am still shocked by the love, support, and loyalty of my friends. One of my life long friends from Australia whom I often refer to as the “big brother I never had” was on tour with his band Verses and flew to New York to surprise me. Yeah, I cried a lot. Friends came from all over to be there, and I was seriously so surprised. No one had said anything to me at all, and everyone had such elaborate plans and strategies that involved my party that I had no idea about haha! It was the most magical night, and I am so thankful for everyone who made it great.

I had high expectations for my 16th birthday, and yet I honestly can’t believe how amazing it was. To everyone who sent me sweet birthday wishes, and made me feel like a princess, thank you. I love you all endlessly.

 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.

 

(Also for those wondering, the dress I wore to my party is by Ted Baker)

This is a picture of my Dad and I on vacation around 12-13 years ago. We used to go to a place called Fingal Bay in Australia every year after Christmas, and I have so many incredible memories of playing on the beach for hours with my dad. When I close my eyes, I can still smell the salty air, and feel the soft sand under my feet. I’ve come a long way since then, but I will cherish the memories I made on that beach forever.

Exciting news people! Tomorrow, I officially turn 16! Yay! Ugh, I am SO excited. I feel like I’ve been waiting to turn 16 since I was 8 and saw how elaborate Lilly Truscott’s Sweet 16 was in the Hannah Montana Movie. And now, it’s finally here! I sure have experienced a whole lot in my (almost) 16 years, and so today I thought that I would share 16 things I’ve learned.

Just like my letter to my younger self, this post is mostly for me. I think it is so important to reflect on what you have learned and how far you have come, and I want to encourage others to focus on what has already been accomplished for once, instead of constantly focusing on what else needs to be done. It’s great to be motivated, but sometimes it’s also great to appreciate the progress.

I’m not saying that I know everything, or that I’m super mature for 16, or that you need to do the things I list. Not at all. Our lives are all completely separate and unique stories, so I do not expect anyone to relate to this at all. If, however, someone does learn from this… Great! I am so glad that my journey can impact someone somewhere.

Life is so precious. And I am so thankful for the platform I have been given to further inspire, encourage, and influence the lives of so many.

Just know that no matter what season of life you’re in, no matter how much longer you need to fight, how much harder you need to work, you have already come a heck of a long way. And that in and of itself, is a huge achievement.

So, without further ado, I give to you, 16 Things I’ve Learned in 16 years.

 

  1. Different is cool. Don’t let the small-minded comments of fake friends hold anything over you. Because in the grand scheme of things, they have no part in your journey. Don’t let their judgement hinder you in any way, you’re better than that.
  2. Do not go to bed angry. Seriously, it never works out well.
  3. Surround yourself with people who are smarter, braver, kinder, more creative than you. Their presence will serve as constant inspiration, so never let yourself be the smartest person in the room.
  4. It’s okay if people don’t like you. No one is loved by everyone.
  5. Dancing to your favorite songs in your PJ’s can just about make any situation a whole lot better. Try it sometime.
  6. Negativity for the sake of negativity is never cool. Like, ever.
  7. You’re allowed to have bad days. Sometimes, it all gets a little too much, and you’re allowed to cry, to feel the weight of the burdens on your shoulders. No one expects you to hold everything together 24/7. Occasionally, things fall apart. No matter how bad it is though, you will rise up. You will overcome this; because for every bad day, there are twice as many good days.
  8. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or be somewhere super cool to have a great time. Adventure is everywhere, it’s up to you to find it.
  9. Take pictures. You’re going to want to remember these moments.
  10. When it comes to friends, quality > quantity. Always.
  11. No matter what, treat others with the kindness and respect you wish they gave you.
  12. Social media is fake. Don’t let the edited profiles of strangers affect you. It’s not real.
  13. In terms of makeup, less is more.
  14. Despite what you might think of yourself, you are beautiful. We all are. And sometimes, everyone but ourselves can see this.
  15. There is tremendous joy in doing what you know you’ve been called to do.
  16. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Our God is with us and goes before us. Trust Him. He has you here for a reason.

 

 

There is so much I wish to do in my time here on this earth, I have learned much, and will continue to spend the rest of my life absorbing as much knowledge and experience as I can. Tonight, on the eve of my 16th birthday, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to those who have been part of writing the first 16 chapters of my story. I am who I am because of the people who have guided me.

So… Thank you.

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M.xo.

 

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted” – Jack Kerouac

As I told you all last week, this week for me was midterms. This meant that my days were filled with exams, study guides, essays, and the occasional freak out. So by the time exams were over, my friends and I were so ready to do something fun, and so we decided to venture out to Brooklyn and have an adventure.

After practically sprinting out of our final Health exam, we all immediately went to the locker rooms to make ourselves look a little more presentable. Since we had been allowed to be out of uniform all week, combined with the reality that we go to an all girls school, we had all been showing up to school looking like we had just rolled bed. So we decided to change and fix ourselves up before leaving, instead of walking around DUMBO in our sweats when everyone else looks like they’re on the cover of some super cool indie album. Hipsters can be intimidating too, ok?!

We had originally planned to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but we were all so exhausted that a long walk did not seem enticing to any of us. Instead, we took the lazy route and just caught a train. We got on the train, played with snapchat filters, dropped some gum, endured the suspicious smells of the F train, and eventually found ourselves in Brooklyn.

I still don’t know how I did it, but I somehow managed to navigate all four of us to Brooklyn, around to everywhere we wanted to see, and back to the city again. This is a serious accomplishment on my part.

We stepped out of the train station and immediately started looking for photo-ops. We found the infamous street were every man and their dog seems to get their pictures in front of the Manhattan Bridge, and stood in the middle of the street for what felt like forever. We took SO many pictures, and they all looked exactly the same haha (except for the ones of us running away from cars, those are pretty funny). We literally chased down this girl who looked like she would take good pictures, and got her to take some group shots (we’re so annoying, I know). She wasn’t too friendly, but the pictures turned out great so we couldn’t complain.

Eventually, we made it to Shake Shack, and excitement levels were very high. We ordered way too much food and all ended up feeling like we were about to throw up, and laughing so much that we almost peed or spat something out. Not too lady-like, but fun nonetheless.

Later, we walked along the water, sang 2000’s music, took artsy pictures for strangers, fell over from the wind, ran around like crazy people, and made our way to these swings + the coolest playground/workout spot ever. It was seriously so much fun, and the best thing to do after such an intense week.

Walking back to the train, we were all talking about what we wanna do this year, and we all realized that you don’t need to spend a lot of money or go somewhere super cool to have a great time. Adventure is all around us, and it’s up to us to find it.

I am so looking forward to many more adventures with my friends this year, and encourage you to do the same!

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.

Ahhh, midterms. The most stressful time of year next to finals. I would be lying if I told you I’m totally cool, calm, and collected during the weeks leading up to my exams. At the moment, I can’t seem to think about anything other than doing well. And while I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I am saying there are better ways to deal with stress than to spend every second of every day focused on succeeding. Exams can be majorly intimidating, and so today I’m sharing my tips for surviving the chaos of midterms.

 

 

Make Study Guides (AND FLASHCARDS!)

OK sure, this one kind of goes without saying. HOWEVER, it is so important to rewrite class notes numerous times. I personally like to make a full study guide with most of the material, and then make flashcards to review more specific details. I have found this way of study is the easiest for me, but of course, everyones study habits are unique to them, so find your groove and get your study on! (Disclaimer: While Quizlet is amazing and helpful and all things great, it will be way more effective to handwrite flashcards. Trust me on this one ;)).

 

Take Some Time to do Something For You

I know this sounds ridiculous. Really, I do. But honestly doing something that gets your mind off of exams is going to help big time when it comes to stress. Go for a run, play the piano, have a pamper evening, or even watch your favorite movie. Doing something along these lines will give you some time to reenergize and refresh before your exams, which is something I am sure that we all would benefit from.

 

Review With Classmates

Comparing study guides and notes with my friends is something I have been doing for years. Not only does it help to talk over and explain concepts from class, but studying with a friend can help reinforce things you didn’t totally pick up on by yourself. Also, if there’s a topic you know you struggle with, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There is no shame in admitting something is hard.

 

Retake Old Tests and Quizzes

This is a big one! Make sure to look back on what you got marked down for on previous assignments, and that you understand why you got it wrong! It might seem tedious and annoying, but it will help so much. (Also, it is not a bad idea to make a practice midterm. It helps, I promise)

 

Get Some Sleep, Girl!

…AND EAT WELL! Seriously! Getting a full 8 hours and eating real food full of nutrients will make the world a much better place when you’re halfway through your early Algebra 2 exam.

 

 

OK people, I actually have to go practice what I preach now and continue studying (lol), but I do hope that your exams go well (for those, like myself, who have yet to take the dreaded midterms). Remember to breathe and trust yourself. You got this!

Happy studying!

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.

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I don’t know what it is about New Yorkers, but I think that we all sometimes forget that we live in freaking New York City. It sounds crazy, I know, but that’s the only explanation I have to justify the fact that most of us barely venture out from our neighborhoods, unless we need to. Me personally, I’m a total uptown girl. I feel most comfortable surrounded by the high-end stores and the overpriced smoothies of Madison Avenue. Uptown is easy for me, I can navigate myself like nobody’s business. Take me below 14th street however, and we have a completely different story. Because of the inevitable stress that comes with venturing downtown, I tend to avoid it at all costs unless I’m with someone who knows what they’re doing. That is, until this weekend.

That’s right, yesterday, I totally left my comfort zone and went to SoHo with some of my friends. Unsurprisingly, it was seriously beautiful (and cold). We are all uptown girls, so we checked off  as many things from our Downtown NYC Bucket List’s (yes, we have them too) as we could. We shopped in too many stores to count, laughed at practically everything, low-key fell asleep in Urban Outfitters, thought we saw Vanessa Hudgens in Dean & DeLuca, reacted to drama, and basically did everything any group of teenage girls in NYC should do.

One highlight was heading to Two Hands, an Australian café in Chinatown. The food there is legitimately INCREDIBLE, and if it weren’t for the snowstorm outside, I would’ve felt totally at home ;). It was kind of refreshing to hear so many Aussie accents in one place, and to be able to order “avo toast” and not receive a confused facial expression back from the waitress.

It was so much fun exploring new parts of the city yesterday, and it totally motivated me to do so again. Maybe 2017 will be the year I leave my comfort zone of uptown and give downtown a go!

Hope you all have a marvelous long weekend!

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.