It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal post on here… I always have all the intention in the world to, but then wedding season gets busy and weddings and engagements seem to take over my blog (which certainly is not a bad thing!). But since I am such a big part of my business, I also occasionally use the blog for posts that are a little less about photography and a little more about yours truly :)
Today’s post is a special one, and in fact, one I’ve been preparing for throughout the last 365 days. Today is my 26th birthday. I don’t know what turning a quarter-century old did to me, but last year on my birthday I came up with the idea that throughout this year I wanted to push myself to try 25 new things that I had never done before. It could be as big as travel or as small as trying new food, and everything in between. Turns out, I would recommend that everyone do something to this affect. It really became a bit of a way of life. It encouraged me to say “yes” to more things I might not have before. It gave me that extra push to do the things that you said you always would. My 25th year might be over, but this mindset and thirst for new adventures will be something I hope to carry throughout life.
To be honest, year 25 didn’t go exactly as I had planned. Not even close. But I have to say that throughout these experiences that I’ve had, I’ve started some amazing friendships, deepened relationships I already had, and have felt so much love & joy throughout this year, despite the ups & downs that life brings. So much love goes out to my family, friends & all the people in my life who support and love me endlessly. Cheers to bringing on a new year… I can’t wait to see what new adventures are in store!
Photo Credit: Amy Spirito Photography
1. Went up to the One World Observatory
On a visit to NYC last fall, my family & I visited the 9/11 memorials & museum (which is absolutely phenomenal if you have a chance to check it out) then followed it up with a trip to the 100th floor of the One World Observatory… Views for days, that’s for sure.
2. Attended an Indian Wedding
Well, I was the photographer, but that’s even better because I got to experience the day from start to finish! This was serious an amazing, unforgettable experience. The day is full of so much color, joy, tradition, love… It’s just incredible! I’ll be forever grateful that Sonal & Jeff chose me to document their big day last October.
3. Went to Charleston, SC
This is definitely one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. I’ve always wanted to go and then suddenly this year I’ve been 3 times and still can’t get enough of the Southern charm.
4. Participated in a Wine Tasting
I used the phrase “participated” because I have actually been to a wine tasting before with my family. Unfortunately, I was 4 months shy of being 21 so I couldn’t actually try any of the wines (kind of defeats the purpose, I know). So this time we did it right on a trip to Sonoma to Sapphire Hill‘s tasting room. The food & the wine… All top notch!
5. Attended an Industry Conference (Creative at Heart)
I had attended workshops before with certain photographers, but never a big conference! Creative at Heart is for all different types of creatives, so it was such an amazing experience to bond with people in different parts of the industry. But above all, I got to see some old friends and meet some new ones :) And of course it didn’t hurt that it was in the beautiful city of Charleston, SC!
6. Skied Alone
I used to be a little apprehensive of this (and had never even done!), but it’s something I really learned to love this past skiing season. When you’re your own boss and can ski on a Tuesday morning while everyone else is at work, why not?! It’s actually very peaceful to be out on the mountain by yourself, skiing along at your own pace, taking on whichever trails you feel like. Don’t get me wrong, I love skiing with friends & family, but I’ve learned that going alone certainly has its perks.
7. Girls Trip to Vegas
This is another thing that I had never done before this year, and now I’ve done it twice! My first trip was in February with girlfriends from college… A few “just because” nights in Vegas to see the Britney Spears & Celine Dion concerts. Then in July, my (now) sister-in-law’s bachelorette party was in Vegas… Dancing & pool parties galore :) Let’s just say, both trips were SO. much. fun. Turns out traveling with friends is pure gold.
8. Rode on a Segway
You know, a segway? The personal transportation that people thought would replace walking, but somehow they just never quite took off. But when I was in Washington D.C., used a segway tour as a method to see the major sights after spying it on Groupon. I will admit, it was legitimately a good way to get around. Much faster than walking and not as constraining as driving around in a tourbus. But forewarning, you feel as silly as you look on one (hence why there is no photo attached of me rocking the helmet & segway).
9. Biked Across the Golden Gate Bridge
This amazing experience kind of speaks for itself. It’s a must do if you’re visiting SF!
10. Lived Outside of New England
This is possibly the thing I’m most proud of from this past year. In January, I took a family trip to Sarasota, Florida to visit my brother & Lauren and decided on a whim that I wanted to spend a good part of the winter months living there. So, with the help of Duncan & Lauren, I made arrangements to live with Lauren’s cousin, Chelsea. I drove down the East Coast (my first long road trip!) at the end of February and called Sarasota my new home for the months of March & April. It was seriously such an incredible experience and I feel so thankful that I have a job that allows me to travel in my off-season. I am a New England girl through & through (having grown up in Maine and now living in Vermont) but really, really loved experiencing life in another part of the country. And lucky for me, that part of the country just happens to feel like paradise :)
11. Went on a Road Trip
Living in Florida for 2 months meant I had to get there & back with my car. I had never taken a long road trip before! It actually was SO much fun! On the ride down, my good friend, Lydia, made the trek with me. We made stops in Richmond, Charleston, and Savannah and I had my first Chick-Fil-A meal (their waffle fries are to die for). Then on my drive back at the end of April, my boyfriend flew into Florida and drove back up the East coast with me. We stopped in to Charleston to visit his sister and then into NYC to visit my sister :) It was a lot of time in my trusty Subaru Legacy, but so fun to see the Eastern seaboard.
12. Trained for Half Marathon – Ran 12.6 Miles
Disclaimer: I am not a runner. Before about 6 months ago, I would tell you that I absolutely loathed running. But when I lived in Florida, I got in some extra beach time by running on Siesta Key in the mornings. 2 mile runs, turned into 3-4, then one day I surprised myself with 7 miles. It was at that point that I decided I wanted to go for a half marathon, something that I never thought I could (or would want to) do. I wanted to squeeze in the half marathon before my 26th birthday, but with wedding season finding one that worked was a little tricky. Luckily, the MDI Half Marathon near my hometown in Maine was a weekend that I don’t have a wedding in October, so it was too perfect not to go for that one. Just a few weeks left!
13. Attended an NHL game
A huge thank you to Lauren & Duncan for bringing me along to the Detroit Red Wings vs Tampa Lightning games!
14. Drove a Mini Cooper
To be honest, I seriously considered buying one of these guys. I absolutely LOVE Mini Coopers and mentioned to someone that it was my dream car, the car I’d buy “someday.” To which they said, “Well what’s stopping you from buying it now??” When I didn’t really have a good response, I decided to test drive one. Ultimately, a few things (mainly practicality) lead me to chose another car but it was still SUPER fun to take this cute little thing for a spin.
15. Tried New Exercise Classes: Hot Yoga & Spinning
Along with running, I love fitness classes and they have been great for cross-training for my half marathon. I had never tried a spinning/cycling class before and now I’m obsessed. REV is my go-to local studio! I also tried hot yoga for the first time (in Florida of all places). I thought I would hate it but it was actually an incredible experience that you should definitely try once.
16. Attended a St. Patty’s Day Celebration
I know, this is a little crazy. But somehow I made it through my entire early adult life without ever going to a St. Patty’s Day Celebration. So obviously that had to change this year.
17. Witnessed an Elopement
This was so incredible. On a Thursday morning in July, I photographed a couple saying “I Do” in the middle of a field at Shelburne Farms. It was so amazing to see the whole wedding pared down to something so intimate & simple. It was only Jenn & Hans, their officiant, me, and their pup :)
18. Got A Blowout at DryBar
Two Words: Pamper. Yourself. It’s not something that should be overlooked, especially on your little sister’s 21st birthday in NYC.
19. Drank on a Rooftop Bar
To be honest, you just don’t come across that many rooftop bars in New England. So on my travels this year, this was an experience I took advantage of (and it’s definitely not an overrated one!). I promise you your drink will seem a million times better if you’re enjoying it outside on a beautiful day with great views.
20. Visited Facebook Headquarters
Not going to lie, this was very cool. Say it with me… FREE. FOOD. Actually, free. I walked into an ice cream parlor and got a scoop of ice cream, then walked out. In all seriousness, this was a very cool experience I am thankful I got to do. Someone described it as college campus meets Disney for adults, and I would say that’s pretty accurate. I use Facebook all the time, and to see it’s headquarters was amazing (thanks to my boyfriend who works there!). The visit was complete with a happy hour on the rooftop and a sighting of Mark Zuckerberg.
21. Joined a Kickball League
Because when your friends ask you if you want to join a kickball league, you say yes.
22. Saw the Grand Canyon
This was for sure on my bucket list and it was a million times worth the trip. After a trip to Vegas, my boyfriend met in there and we drove 4 hours over to the Grand Canyon. It is truly remarkable and is something everyone should see in their lifetime.
23. Paint & Sip
This is definitely a bit of craze right now, and now I can see the hype about it! We celebrated the start of our friend Lindsey’s bachelorette party with an evening at the local Paint & Sip studio. Wine + painting + friends makes for a pretty great night.
24. Tried New Foods
I tried to make a very conscious effort this year to try new foods whenever I could, including but not limited to dried squid, some sort of French appetizer I couldn’t even begin to pronounce or describe, and a good old fried Oreo, which I happened to snatch a video of…
25. Went Lobster Fishing with my Grandfather
I’m a wee bit ashamed it took me 25 years to do this, but better late than never. My grandfather (“Pup”) is lobsterman in Maine and I had never been out fishing with him before. The morning out on the boat with him is a memory I’ll cherish for my entire life.