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Looking Back at 2018

Every year for the past few years (2015, 2016, 2017) I’ve made one of these posts, and each year I’m even more surprised by how much can be packed into just twelve months.

2018 was a whirlwind year. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the first half of it was spent in magical Oxford, England, traveling and studying and making memories that I will always, always fondly look back on with immense gratitude. While the transition back home was far from easy–I missed everyone and everything from my time at Oxford so dearly–it was made a thousand times better thanks to endless support from friends and family. Senior year at Wheaton has turned out to be more exciting, eye-opening, and formative than I ever expected. I found a true sense of belonging in 2018, something I feel as though I had been lacking for a long time.

2018 was also a year of countless firsts. I traveled to so many new places for the first time, from Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, and Mondsee abroad to new mountains and cities back home in the States. I began traveling by myself more for the first time here, more comfortable with venturing off on my own. I had my first (and thankfully only) abroad allergic reaction and my first allergic reaction to occur at Wheaton, but survived them both and bounced back with the help and kind words of those around me. I finished my first semester as a college senior and have begun to confront the terrifying, exciting fact that this is it. I took the LSAT, applied to law schools, and got accepted to law schools for the first time. Never before have I felt so validated academically, like all of my hard work over the years has finally, finally paid off. It’s an amazing, incredible feeling.

2018 taught me many things, but above all I learned balance. I feel as though I’ve finally found a sort of equilibrium between friends, family, work, school, looking towards the future, reflecting on the past, and finding time to do the things that make me happy. It’s not a perfect balance, but something tells me that’s not truly possible to achieve. For now, I’m content with the balance I’ve struck.

2018 was far from flawless; there were many rough patches and turbulent waters, but somehow it all skyrocketed to an amazing end of the year. I know 2019 will be a year of huge transition for me–graduating college, entering law school, figuring out what my path forward looks like–but I’m happy knowing that 2018 set me up as best it could with unforgettable memories, challenging new experiences, and a better support network of friends and family than I could have ever asked for.

Thanks to everyone who made 2018 so wonderful; I hope I can return the favor in 2019. Happy New Year!!

How was your 2018? Highlights? Things you overcame? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Rambles

I Go CAMPING! & Currently Reading

Let's Go- CAMP NANOWRIMO (1)Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a lovely week and you’re ready for an even lovelier weekend!

This is just a quick little post to let you all know that I’ll be taking a four-day hiatus from blogging starting today because I’m going CAMPING! As you read this I’ll be lounging on the beach by the lake, roasting marshmallows by the fire, and peering out of my tent hoping that no raccoon or bears are lurking in the dark. This is my fourteenth summer camping with my family at this specific campground, and it’s by far one of my favorite times of the year!

I still have some posts scheduled (such as this one!), but I’ll be late with replying to comments and checking out all of your fantastic posts. But I’ll be back at it again in the beginning of next week!

I’m currently in the middle of reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman for the BookTubeAThon, and I absolutely adore it! Not only is the story witty and exciting and romantic, but it’s also hilarious. I love the way the narrator occasionally interrupts the story with his own commentary. It’s a bit different from the movie, but I honestly love them both!

Have you ever gone camping? What are you currently reading? Have any fun weekend plans? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Some Thoughts on the Final Episode of LOST

Some Thoughts on the Final Episode of LOST

*** Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers about the ending of ABC TV show Lost. If you haven’t watched the last episode or don’t want to know how the series ends, then don’t read on!***

It’s happened: I’VE FINALLY FINISHED WATCHING LOST. After nearly a year of ceaseless suspense, roller coaster rides of emotions, and investing an impressive number of hours in this series, it feels strange to officially be done. There will be no more waiting on the edge of my seat to see who will be arriving next on the island, no more tear-jerking moments when a beloved character dies or shocked gasps when a completely unexpected twist occurs. I’ve grown to love (and loathe) these characters over the past year, and to suddenly be without them feels wrong in some way. However, the show must go on (no pun intended).

Lost

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you most likely know about my adoration for this show. I’ve used #hollywatcheslost on Twitter to document my feelings throughout the series, and I wrote this gushing post about my obsession with it last summer. In fact, I even wrote an Odyssey article recently titled, 11 Reasons Why I Love LOST Despite the Imperfect Ending(Hint hint: I have mixed feelings about the ending.) For the past year I’ve tried desperately (and succeeded!) to avoid spoilers, so I went into the controversial, mysterious, hyped-up series finale knowing absolutely nothing about what the conclusion would hold. I’d been told by many that it was anticlimactic, confusing, and unsatisfying, but I was determined to watch it with an open mind.

Here’s the thing, though: those people were (sort of) right. 

Even though it’s actually been weeks since I finished watching Lost, I still have countless mixed feelings about the ending. I’ve tried my best to think it over, talk with other people who have watched it, and ultimately form my own coherent opinion about it, but there’s just so much that I don’t know how to put into words. How do you sum up something that you don’t fully understand?

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While watching the nearly two-hour-long final episode I kind of predicted what direction the ending would go in, but I definitely didn’t guess it entirely correctly. In actuality, the ending revealed that the island had been a sort of purgatory (but not really purgatory, as explained by J.J. Abrams in this video), and the characters had to learn to “let go” before they “moved on.” In other words, they all died. This is my interpretation of the ending, at least– I was so confused by what was going on that I’m not sure if I understood it in the way that it was meant to be taken. After researching online, watching videos, and reading this particularly helpful articleI feel as though I have a little bit of a clearer understanding of what happened. However, that raises the important question: Is there really one correct interpretation of the show? Surely there’s the interpretation that the producers of the show hoped to convey to the viewers, but how is that any different from an author’s intent when writing a novel? We often develop our own loose interpretations of written stories, and therefore I believe we should be able to do the same with stories on-screen.

The ending was certainly okay, but I was expecting something more shocking or climactic after everything the characters went through throughout the entire series. While it does help explain some things, it also leaves a lot of plot holes wide open. Another problem I have with it is that it is so different from what the show originally was in the beginning. It’s the kind of ending that you can make work with the story in hindsight, but it feels sort of patched together. I didn’t get the vibe that this ending is what was planned when the series first started out. Of course, I understand that the writers changed a lot over the course of producing the series, so obviously it’s difficult to make the ending perfectly fit everything. With that said, I do think that they could have thought of something more creative, because it feels like they took the easy way in some ways.

tumblr_mhv6ui1TVt1rh0qkco6_250My favorite part of the finale was the very last scene, when Jack’s eye closes for the last time. It was so clever how they mirrored the very first scene of the entire series when Jack’s eye opens. I love cyclical endings like that, and I have to admit that I’ve never seen it done as well as in Lost. 

Now, I should probably discuss the infamous issue of the love triangle: Should Kate have ended up with Jack or Sawyer? Personally, I feel as though she would have been fine with either of them. On one hand, Sawyer shares Kate’s feelings about running away, committing crimes, and feeling like an outsider. However, Jack and Kate have certain connection that Sawyer just can’t seem to match. I’m glad that Jack finally declares his love for Kate in the end because it’s clear that he adores her in a faithful way that Sawyer could never uphold.

Overall, I would describe the last episode of Lost as unsatisfying, but okay. As time has passed since I’ve watched it I’ve come to accept it as a decent ending, given the circumstances and my incredibly high expectations. Do I believe it could have been done better? Yes. Did it do an adequate job of ending the series in an emotional, surprising way? Also yes.

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Ultimately, I still love Lost. It’s a fantastic show that had me hooked from beginning to end, and the character development is simply incredible. The plot may be wonky at times, but I love it nevertheless. And yes, I did cry when Jack died at the end– who wouldn’t, after watching everything he’s been through? I’m sure that Lost will be a show that sticks with me for a long time to come, and I can’t wait to revisit it in the future.

Farewell, Lost. Thanks for a wild ride.

What do you think of the way Lost ended? What is your opinion of the series in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Rambles

My First Year of College Is.. Over?!?!

My First Year of College Is... Over?!?!Why yes, it’s really me– I’m back!! Yesterday I moved out of my college dorm for summer vacation and it’s a strange, wonderful, and bittersweet feeling. Although I vividly remember August orientation like it was just the other weekend (so. many. icebreakers.) it also seems like I’ve been waiting an eternity for the end of second semester to finally arrive. These past few weeks have been insanely busy and stressful with final exams and all of the usual events that happen when the semester comes to a close. All I want to do now is lounge in the sun with a good book, spend time with my friends and family, finally finish watching Lost…

It’s strange to think that one year of college is already over and done. Next year there will be new freshmen walking around Wheaton’s gorgeous campus and experiencing its quirky traditions for the first time. They will feel lost and confused but also incredibly excited that this new chapter of their lives is finally beginning. While I’m grateful that I won’t have to experience that intense few weeks of facing the unknown again, it’s also a little frightening. I always thought that sophomores have their lives together and know what they’re doing, but as I near the beginning of my own sophomore year I realize that this is yet another misconception: not many people really know exactly what they’re doing. We’re all just doing the best we can to try to figure things out.

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My freshman year of college had many ups and downs, as I’m sure most people’s do. I met a group of amazing friends that I’m endlessly grateful for, tried countless new things, and learned more both within and beyond the classroom than I ever expected. I went to Six Flags for the first time, visited the Richard Rodger’s Theatre in NYC, watched a total of 53 movies, and spent more time doing homework than I thought humanly possible. My professors were fantastic, and they’re honestly one of the things I think I’ll miss the most this summer– them and my friends, of course. Saying goodbye yesterday involved a lot of hugging, promising to stay in touch, and holding back tears.

When all is said and done, I wouldn’t trade my first year college experience for anything. I’ll miss freshman year dearly, but I’m also welcoming sophomore year with wide open arms. And let’s not forget what comes in between: SUMMER VACATION!

I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular blogging schedule. My fingers have been itching to type up all of my blogging ideas, so brace yourselves for a bunch of posts coming up soon!

Until next time!

Yours,

HOLLY

P.S. Nut Free Nerd now has an Instagram! 

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Looking Back at 2015

LOOKING BACK ON 2015

2015 was a crazy year.

College acceptance letters arrived in my mailbox. I found out that I possibly have exercised induced anaphylaxis (it’s a long story). I decided to attend Wheaton College in Norton, MA. I saw Walk the Moon perform at the House of Blues in Boston. I survived (and passed!) 4 AP exams. I danced the night away at prom. I graduated high school (FINALLY!). My family and I took a road trip to West Virginia, which I will hopefully never have to do again. I interned at my local county attorney’s office during the summer. I had my last day of work at my local public library, which was one of the saddest days of my summer. I experienced my very first semester of college (!!!). My mom and I sat in the front row at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. I turned nineteen.

 

2015

2015 has been a year of ups and downs, new experiences, and a lot of change. So much has happened in the past year that I hardly even know how to describe it. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for each and every person who helped me along the way and for all of the amazing things I’ve had the opportunity to experience.

As always, I’d like to thank you all for reading this blog of mine! It means the world to me! ❤

Happy New Year! May 2016 be a great one!

Yours,

HOLLY

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A Merry Message…

MERRY MERRY MERRY MERRY

To all those who celebrate it, I hope you have a lovely Christmas! Eat some sweets, sing lots of carols, and enjoy time with family and friends. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Yours,

HOLLY

P.S. Enjoy this GIF of Hugh Grant dancing. You’re welcome.

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s that wonderful time of year again: Thanksgiving!! Not only is this day rich in history, but it’s also one rooted in traditions and an incredibly important message. Even though Christmas will probably always be my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving comes in at a strong second place.

I love the simplicity of Thanksgiving, the way it’s a day with few strings attached. You can celebrate any way you wish- with family or friends, with or without turkey, religiously or not. For me it has always been a day of great food and relaxing with family, which is a perfect break during this hectic time of year.

Then there’s the lovely message behind Thanksgiving: to take this day each year to give thanks and be appreciative. I am so grateful to have such amazing family members, friends, and opportunities in my life. And I can’t forget to mention how much I appreciate all of YOU!

Thanks for sticking with me and this blog, especially throughout the past few months when it’s been pretty quiet around here. Winter break is right around the corner, which means I’ll (hopefully) have much more time for blogging!

Happy Thanksgiving, and whether or not you celebrate this holiday I hope you have a wonderful day!

Yours,

HOLLY

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How I Survived 15+ Hours in a Car

How I Survived 15+ Hours in a Car

My family and I recently embarked on a road trip to West Virginia for my brother’s soccer tournament, and boy, it was an adventure. Let me tell you: I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated coming home more than when we returned from this trip.

We left early on a Wednesday morning, around eight o’clock. Jamming all of our stuff into the trunk of our small car was an impressive feat, one that I still don’t fully understand how my parents were able to pull off. Now, I live in New Hampshire, and if you know anything about USA geography you’ll probably be like: Isn’t that far away from West Virginia? The answer to that question is a resounding YES. As you can see from the graphic I made (I stole the map from Google images- I’m not THAT fancy!) it’s quite a distance from my house to Charleston, West Virginia. It takes about twelve to thirteen hours to drive there without traffic- and that, my friends, is a LONG time in a car!

My Home

I was prepared for this ride with a TBR pile, of course. It consisted of:

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The first two orange boxes are these things called Playaways, which are these little MP3-like devices that come preloaded with one audio book on them. The library I work at has a bunch of them, and they’re great for listening to audio books when you don’t want to bother with CDs or downloading them online. If you guys are interested in learning more about them, just let me know in the comments and I can write a more detailed post about them in the future!

I only ended up completely finishing I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, but I’m more than half way through the other two books. Considering I was only gone for five days, I’ll count that as a success!

The ride to West Virginia wasn’t all that bad, mostly because we left early in the morning and I got a full night of sleep the night before. We left my house at eight o’clock and arrived at the hotel in Charleston, West Virginia a little after nine o’clock at night. It took us a good thirteen hours to get there, but we were so excited that it didn’t really feel that long.

AND on the way there we got to ride past Scranton, Pennsylvania and my adoration for The Office was practically bursting out of me. ❤

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See that sign? It says: Central SCRANTON Expressway. (!!!!!!)

This soccer tournament was the Region I Championships, and my brother had three games to play within the three days we were there. (His team ended up losing the first two and winning the last one, but it’s all good!). It was pretty good weather while we were there, although it did starting POURING during the second game.

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Dark storm clouds before the game started… yikes! Fortunately, the rain only last for a little while!

It’s a good thing our hotel was good, because there was literally NOTHING TO DO in our area. Seriously, what do people do in West Virginia? If you live there, let me know what you guys do for fun, because we came across no attractions or anything! The most entertaining thing was Mosa, this twenty-two year old parrot who lived in a big cage in the hotel. She was ADORABLE, and she even talked to us!

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Mosa, the amazing parrot. I miss her already!

After my brother played his last game on Sunday morning, we embarked on our long journey home. It was by far the worst car ride of my entire life. Most of the other soccer families were driving half way and then staying at a hotel overnight, but my parents decided to just drive straight home. Our projected arrival time was around midnight.

Yeah, that didn’t actually happen.

Instead, we got stuck in mega traffic around New York City and New Haven/Hartford, Connecticut. What was supposed to be a twelve-hour drive turned into over a fifteen hour drive, and we didn’t get home until after three in the morning. THREE IN THE MORNING. For some reason it’s hard for me to fall asleep in places other than a bed, so I didn’t even doze off. It was the worst thing ever.

So how did I survive the drive? Here’s how:

  • I listened to audio books and knitted scarves at the same time.
  • I listened to the song “The Prayer” by Josh Groban on repeat for over an hour.
  • Snacks. And lots of them.
  • I drank enough water that I felt hydrated, but not so much that a bathroom break was required every two seconds.
  • Comfortable clothing- this is an absolute must!

Usually I really enjoy road trips, but this one was just SO LONG and so late at night. The trip overall was really fun, though, and in the end it was all worth it!

Do have any fun, crazy, or terrible road trip stories? Have you ever been to West Virginia? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

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My Goals for This Strangest Summer Ever

THE BEST VIEW

It’s summer, everyone! And you know what that means: FREE TIME! This summer is going to be the strangest summer ever for me because I just graduated from high school, which means that I don’t have any summer homework!! (FINALLY!!!!!) It’s so weird to be able to just do whatever I want without having to feel productive or constantly be working on assignments and studying. Oh, freedom feels so good!

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I do have some goals for this summer, but I’m not going to stress about reaching them. Instead, at the end of the summer I’ll look back at this post and see how many I actually completed, just for fun. So here are my goals for the summer of 2015:

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Read at least 15 books.

In the past I’ve been able to read 20-30 books in a single summer, but this year I want to read some longer, more challenging books. To give me some time to relax and read at a more leisurely place, I’m only setting a goal of 15 books. To see which books I plan on reading, you can check out my Summer 2015 TBR. 

Read at least 2 books in Spanish.

I’ve been working on improving my Spanish skills before college, and this summer is the perfect opportunity for me to get some more practice in. I have a few translated novels on my shelf to choose from, so I’m not exactly sure which ones I’ll be reading yet.

Get ahead with book reviews.

I probably won’t have a lot of time to write quality, in-depth book reviews in college, so I want to try to write a lot of them ahead of time. This way I can schedule them for into the fall months, and then I won’t have to worry about hurriedly writing them while I’m trying to adjust to college.

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Organize my photo album.

I absolutely LOVE printing out photos and having them all together in a photo album. I’ve taken an absurd amount of photos this past year, so the first step is going to be to have them all printed out. Then I need to put them all in chronological order and cross my fingers that my photo album is big enough to fit them all!

Work on my Wreck This Journal

A few months ago I started decorating the pages of my Wreck This Journal, which you can see by clicking here. I haven’t had a lot of time to do this since then, but I’m hoping that this summer I can get back into the swing of crafting again. I have some fun ideas for a few pages in particular, so once I finish them I’ll be posting some pictures!

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 Finish watching through the 3rd episode of Lost.

Can I do this? To be honest, this is sort of a stretch for me, but I’m going to try! I’ve been absolutely LOVING Lost lately (as you can tell from this post) but I don’t really watch that much TV. I think I can do it, though!

Watch more movies.

This one is also going to be a little difficult for me. I would much rather read than watch movies, but there are some movies that it feels like everyone in the world has seen except for me. (Grease, The Wizard of Oz, The Notebook, the list goes on and on and on). My goal is to watch more of them in general- maybe at least one a week? If you have any suggestions of movies I should add to my list, let me know in the comments!

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Go outside more.

I don’t just mean go take more walks in the woods, although I also need to do that. By this I mean that I want to experience more things this summer, even if they don’t involve a lot of traveling. For example, my hometown has a tiny beach. In the past ten years I don’t even think I’ve been to it once. WHY? Even if I don’t swim in it, it would be lovely to sit by the water and read everyone once in a while.

Relax!

Senior year was CRAZY! A combination of college applications, AP classes and exams, work, honor societies, and senior year drama and general I have been going, going, going with very few pauses. Since I don’t have the mountains of summer homework that I usually have, I’m definitely going to take advantage of my free time to simply enjoy doing NOTHING. I don’t have to be busy every second of every day, and that is simply wonderful! I am so looking forward to it!

What are your goals for this summer, bookish or otherwise? What do you think of mine? Do you have any exciting plans for this summer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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I’M FREE! (AKA I’ve Finally Graduated from High School!)

I'M FREE!(AKA I've finally graduated

People, my graduation day has officially come and gone, and I am FREE AT LAST!!

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For the longest time it felt as though that day would never come, and then suddenly it was here and now it’s then. I still can’t believe that I’m done with high school for good. There are certainly some things that I’ll miss: my amazing friends, the wonderful teachers I’ve had over the years, and the familiarity of classmates and daily classmates. These first few days of summer have had me in a bit of a nostalgic mood, but I’m becoming more and more excited for the future with each passing moment. I’ve got the whole summer ahead of me to do whatever I please! And then I’m off to college!

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High school was a mix of ups and downs for me. I’ve made some great memories with friends and had some fantastic teachers, but there are many things about my particular high school that I really disliked. Overall, though, I believe that I made the best of my four years there and had experiences that will last me a lifetime.

It feels so strange to have an entire summer to do whatever I please. Usually I’m bogged down by summer homework and deadlines, but not this summer! I feel so free and light, it’s fantastic!

Goodbye class of 2015, and thank you! Hello class of 2019!

Do you have any plans for this summer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY