My 21st Birthday Photo Diary!

I turned 21 this past Sunday and I had an amazing birthday. It was more fun than I could ever imagine it being. It was a fun night wth family and friends!  I was fighting with someone who I viewed as important to me, but I was so lucky to have my friends by my side that night to keep me constantly having fun. You should never be down on your birthday -ESPECIALLY your 21st!

So what did I do?

Even though my birthday was on the 15th, the celebrations began on the 14th. Since there was a possibility that I could (but wasn’t) sick the next day (Sunday) my sister Megan and I decided we would go to church on Saturday.
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Next I went to my friend, Vahane’s house and then Vahane, Marina and I went onto (I think) some rooftop of a building to get a nice picture in front of the city. I love Pittsburgh!

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That’s my cute birthday outfit! (Dress H&M $40, Shoes Steve Madden $89, Necklace Forever 21, $15)

After seeing that spectacular view of the city, Vahane, Marina and I met up with my friend Gabby at Buca Di Beppo where we got dinner and they sang happy birthday to me! Free cannoli! I also got candle wax on my dress when they gave me a large candelabra. Then back to Vahane’s where I had the pleasure of having Vahane and his room mate Victor serenade me a creative happy birthday tune.

Then we went to Joe and John’s place in the South Side slopes. My roomie Sydney met us there. We got a ride for Lyft and had our Lyft driver Abrahim join us inside. I got a nice picture with some of the people there. Mostly everyone was still inside at that point. They have an amazing view from their deck!

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Then we headed down to Diesel for an awesome night! Other than myself it was my sisters Megan and Tara, Vahane, Marina, Gabby, Brett, Joe, John, Dan and Payment. I got in around 11, while I was still 20. My mom bought us a VIP Skybox, three bottles of Skyy Vodka and a bottle of Verdi champagne. It was definitely nice having a skybox so we could sit down and actually have room to dance. I went on the dance floor for about 7 minutes, danced with a rando and was over it. At midnight I was brought the bottle of Verdi with a sparkler on top. I popped it myself and poured everyone a glass. Happy birthday to me! We stayed until 2 am when the place closed. I would just like to add that no, I was not your typical 21st birthday girl. Yes, it was my 21st, so I got drunk, but I was not trashed at all. I remember the entire night! It baffles me why anyone would want to get completely trashed on their 21st birthday and black out. Wouldn’t you want to remember it? 

Here’s some more pictures from Diesel:

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So I spent the night at Vahane’s house. The next morning I had my birthday/father’s day lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip. Note: I picked two Italian places to eat for my birthday… Can you tell I love Italian!? So I did that with my family and then went back to my family’s bar afterwards. My mom practically forced me to do a shot of Patron. No, I did not do this out of my own free will. I don’t like Tequila. It was awful. Next, my mom and I both “cheers-ed” to a Dos Equis.

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Look how young my mom looks! You would think she was the one turning 21. So then I had  two mixed drinks and a cherry bomb. All for free! I love having it be my birthday. So then Vahane and Marina show up for a drink, before going back to my house. We each have a glass of dogfish head and then head down to South Side to go to Sky Bar! That was a lot of fun. It was my first daytime sky bar experience. After Sky Bar we head to Local where I had this huge and delicious drink called, “Tie Me To The Bed Post” and some delicious pink shot.

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So after Local we headed up Mt. Washington. Can I just tell you that I love Mt. Washington? Yes, it has amazing views on Grandview, but it’s also where I called my home for the past two years. I went back to my mom’s house for the summer, but I can’t get enough of Mt. Washington. I’m there at least two times out of the week, and I really miss it. Anyways, we stopped at one of the lookouts and got more great pictures. I also got a very inspirational pep talk from Vahane about a few things that were bothering me.

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So then we went back to Vahane’s place and ordered a pizza. After eating Marina and I somehow found ourselves boxing each other in Vahane’s basement with Victor and Matt, Vahane’s room mates.

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My birthday celebration isn’t over yet though! I have my birthday party tomorrow at my family’s bar!

I just want to say a special thank you to all my family and friends who I was with last Saturday and Sunday for my birthday. A special thank you to my mom not only for birthing me, but for buying me my birthday party at  Diesel and for my party tomorrow. Another thank you to Vahane, who helped with setting up my party at Diesel and taking me out in South Side for my birthday day.

20 Things I Learned At 20

This past Sunday I (finally) turned 21. Those who know me know that I am big on personal reflection and examining the ways I’ve grown. I’ve had more personal growth at the age of 20 than I could ever imagine. Some big things happened to me the last year. I had a dramatic and drawn out end to a not so good three and a half year relationship, further learned the importance of family, learned how to date as an adult, had one of those infamous gen-y “not-relationships”, and grew in my faith. Here are the 20 things I learned at 20:

1. Put God first… and the rest will follow.

2. Carry mini toiletries with you always… ESPECIALLY a tooth brush. You never know when you’ll be spending the night somewhere so go to target and raid their travel items section. My travel tooth brush, tooth paste, and face wash are the most important items in my make up bag.

3. Don’t kiss two friends… especially when you actually like one of them. It’s stupid and it’s silly. And trust me, you’ll save yourself from feeling very awkward later. Don’t dip into the same dating pool of friends twice. Just don’t do it!

4. Life goes on. No sadness is forever. You’ll get over things if you let yourself.

5. Stick to 1 drink… maybe 2… but definitely not 5. You may find yourself blacked out and coming to in a toilet bowl… don’t say I didn’t warn you!

6. If you have dietary restrictions, follow them. It’s better to not eat the fun food than to feel like crap hours later.

7. Stop assuming things… ESPECIALLY when it comes to someone else’s feelings for you. Don’t assume that they’re using you, really like you, don’t like you, or only with you because they’re bored. This just adds unneeded stress for you. The only person who can tell you someone else’s feelings… is them! And if it really is bothering you that much then talk to them. Figure it out. Move on. But don’t assume things that you don’t even know. You’ll drive yourself crazy.

8. Everyone has a story, secrets, a past, and drama of their own.

9. You’re better off with the guy you can be yourself around then the dream guy you get nervous around. It’s so much more fun and enjoyable to be around a guy you like and not have to closely measure and over think every word before it escapes your lips!

10. Your family loves you and will always have your best interest in mind. Lean on them when you need it. They’ll be there.

11. Your friends are usually right and deep down, you’ll know when they are right. LISTEN to them.

12. Relationships are a two way street. You give and you get. There shouldn’t be only one person giving while all the other person is doing is getting. But at the same time, give without expecting to receive.

13.  You can’t change someone. Save yourself the stress and don’t try.

14. Staying positive is the best way to be in any situation. It’s always so easy to just pick out the negative in any bad situation. But that won’t make you feel any better. See the silver lining of the storm cloud and find something to be happy about. Can’t find any positives? Think of all the people there for you in your time of need and be thankful.

15. When you’re upset, you’ll find the most comfort in prayer.

16. Don’t settle for a part time position in someone’s life when you treat them like they have a full time position in yours. When a guy treats you like an option, even if you’ve fallen for him, it’s time to say BYE! You are always deserving of being someone’s first choice. Don’t settle for being an option just because you want to keep someone in your life. The guy worth keeping won’t have you be runner up to some other girl. Know your value. Know your worth. Know what you have to offer and give it to someone DESERVING of it -someone who puts you before anyone else.

17. Always be on the same page with the person you’re seeing or talking to at all, whether it’s your boyfriend, the person you’re casually dating, the twice a month hook up… whoever. It’s never fun to be the one who cares more. You should both be aware of the other one’s feelings and if you’re feelings differ, say bye.

18. When meeting new people, give them the benefit of the doubt. If you act cold and rude right off the bat without giving them a chance, you could really miss out on an awesome friendship.

19. Don’t go on second dates that you don’t want to go on. Not only is it rude to the other person, but you’re making yourself suffer as well. Don’t lead someone on and don’t torture yourself by sitting through an hour of dinner listening to him drone on about whatever when you rather be washing your hair or watching Netflix.

20. It’s better to be bummed out about the truth than happy believing a lie.

My main take aways from the last year can be summed up like this: 
Know your worth and your value. 
Put yourself first. 
A positive outlook in a negative situation is crucial. 
And just love, love, love until your heart hurts and find something to be happy about. Also: pray. Always pray. Pray when you’re sad, but pray when you’re happy too.

Here’s to turning 21 and beginning a new chapter in my life! I will be posting a photo diary soon of my 21st birthday! 

-Andrea

Ways You Know You’re a Stereotypical Millennial

I’m admittedly a stereotypical millennial. All the marketing research articles out there on millennials give us a bad rap. Yeah, so we’re lazy narcissists, but don’t get bogged down by all the negative adjectives Gen X-ers and Babyboomers slap on us! Here’s a list of other things that define our generation. I’ve concocted a list (with the help of my room mate Sydney) of ways you know you’re a stereotypical millennial. 
 
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that not all of these apply to me.  

1. You speak to Siri more than necessary. No, I’m not talking about asking her stupid questions or trying to get a funny response out of her. You’re just lazy. You’re too lazy to physically go through your contacts and find the number you want to call. Instead it’s “Siri call Katie” or “Siri, call my mom.” Didn’t people actually have to go through a handwritten address book at one point to call a friend? …Yikes.

2. You want to go to lunch, but of course, being a millennial you have no time to wait in a line. Are you crazy?! Instead, you pull out the restaurant’s app on your phone and place your order ahead of time. (Noodles & Co App!)

3. Or you’re headed to a traditional sit down restaurant, but who has time to wait for that on a Saturday night?  Say no more and pull out the No Wait App.

4. Casual, non-committal not relationships define your single life right now.

5. Would you rather use your phone or laptop? Phone obviously. It’s so much easier to have your technology in the palm of your hand rather than having a fourteen inch screen in front of you and a keyboard with physical keys. Besides, you’re more comfortable with the app version of websites anyways.

6. Do we really need to leave voice mails anymore? If you call me, know me personally, and have something important to tell me, you’ll text me like a normal person. Who makes phone calls anyways? Say it with me “TEXTING.”

7. You understand what “I can’t even” means.

8. Chipotle.

9. You read blogs… a lot. Bored and already scrolled too far down on your facebook newsfeed or pinned every pinnable thing on Pinterest? Head over to our favorite blog to kill some time.

10. You may or may not say “LOL” and “IDK” when speaking in real life. Ooops.

11. You’re either out of college or on summer break and live at home with your parents.

12. You hardly find use for a television anymore. All the TV you could ever need you get through your Netflix account (or ‘borrowing’ someone else’s) or through HBOgo, ShotimeAnytime, MaxGo, or Hulu.

13. Speaking of, you may or may not have “binge-watched” an entire season of a TV series in one sitting.

14. You no longer buy your own music. Your entire iTunes Library consists of music you pirated.

15. Music Festivals <3

16. You feel the urge to “check-in” whenever you’re out.

17. But first let me take a selfie.

18. You may be guilty of taking an InstaGram photo down if it did not get your preferred amount of “likes.” That or you just hash tag it some more.

19. You enjoy recycling and feel a hint of anxiety when throwing a glass bottle into a normal trashcan.

20. You get anxiety when you don’t have your phone on you.

21. You get anxiety when you don’t have phone service.

22. You’ve been in a room or at a dinner table with friends or family and everyone is glued to their phone screen.

23. Having to write a paper where a professor would like you to cite book sources is just… just… no words for that cruelty. Hello, why would I research in books when I have the Internet?

24. You’ve jumped on the avocado or kale bandwagon.

25. You’ve done a juice cleanse. You’ve pretended to like you juice cleanse… when it really must be awful.

25. Lists.

26. You rather call or text someone in the next room or upstairs instead of just getting up and going to ask them something.

27. The ongoing battle with snap chat art. Who can win “most creative snap?”

28. Tinder is the new dating norm.

29. Marriage equality.

30.  Fro yo craze!

31. Instagramming your fro yo.

32. Namaste. At one point in your life you could have been considered a yogi.

33.  Saying the word “hashtag” in every day life…. hashtag embarrassing.

34. Instagramming your Starbucks… especially when they spell your name wrong.

35. Getting your news from Facebook, Twitter or BuzzFeed… you know, anything other than an actual news source.

36. The never ending stupid UN-PAID internships which may even last until after you graduate. (Why are parents so shocked by this?!? “You mean you’re not getting paid?!?! You do it for free?!” “Yes.” “….!?!?”)

37.  Don’t know how to spell a word? Type it into your phone and learn the spelling.

Am I missing anything? Feel free to add your two cents in the comments!

Don’t Fall Into the Dating Hole… Just Don’t.

I prefer to see dating (and I use this term loosely… relationships, casually dating… just in any situation where you “catch feelings”) as digging  hole. Confused? Allow me to explain…

Falling for someone is dangerous. Those of us who have been hurt before know this. It’s scary. When you’re falling for someone you open yourself up to be vulnerable and risk the chance of getting hurt. It’s not a risk we choose to take. We don’t choose to fall for someone and I’m sure no one would choose to potentially get hurt. Falling for someone happens and it is uncontrollable. Try to stop developing feelings for someone, and the faster they come.

But there is an “alternative” to trying to stop your feelings from growing. You walk away all together. You walk away from the one who seemed to so easily charm you. You just say, “I’m done,” walk away and try to forget . I’m sure we can all agree that this method is so much easier said than done… especially when you find yourself deep in the “hole” of dating.

My Analogy.
When you begin to like someone you’re handed a shovel and you begin to dig. Each time he makes you laugh you scoop away some dirt. With each kiss, hug, cuddle, and compliment you dig deeper. You dig yourself into a hole. And maybe something happens that makes you want to leave the situation. So what do you do? You climb out of the hole. The first time is with ease, assuming you’re only about 3 feet deep. Then you walk away, but soon you’re brought back in. Maybe he texts you or sends you a flirty snap chat. Whatever the case, once you decide to respond, you’re back in the hole and you begin to dig some more.

So your situation with him just doesn’t seem to be working out or you’re just confused and want out. With a little struggle, you manage to get out of the hole this time. But almost as soon as you get out, you find yourself there again, shovel in hand and begin digging as you feel yourself getting giddy about him all over again. The next time you want out, it’s a struggle. You’re about 5.5 feet in. But by some miracle, you’re free. You’re out of the hole you dug yourself into. But be careful, because once you find yourself flirting with him again, you’ll also find yourself back in the hole. And next time it’ll be nearly impossible to get out.

10 Reasons Why I Swipe Left on Tinder

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Yes, I have a Tinder. I met four guys on it… but that was about 5 months ago. Still, I swipe to pass away boredom. I’m gonna be up front and honest, if I don’t find you attractive, I’ll swipe you left. I’m not shallow; everyone knows this app is 90% based on looks and 10% based on the bios (assuming they have one.) Don’t tell me you’ll swipe an unattractive person right. That’s a lie. But aside from the looks factor, here are ten other reasons why I swipe left on Tinder:

1. Looks like you have a picture with your ex-girlfriend (or current girlfriend?)
Hi, may I remind you that you are on a dating (hook up?) app. Why on earth would any girl consider meeting you when you’re pictured with an ex. That tells us three things: 1) You’re not over her, which brings us to 2.) You’re using us to get over her. 3.) You will constantly be comparing us. And then we ask ourselves if she’s your current girlfriend. And whhhhhhyyyyyy would we like to be considered a home wrecker?

2. Shirtless mirror selfies.
We get it. You look good. You know it. But the shirtless selfies make you appear overly confident and extremely cocky. Neither are turn ons… they’re turn offs. Yes, most girls prefer a guy with a nice body because it tells us you take care of yourself. But, we don’t need to see the pictures right off the bat. If I go on a date with you I can pretty much tell what your body looks like. If you tell me you play sports and like to work out and have no signs of not having a great bod, I’ll assume you look good. No need for shirtless selfies.

3. You’re holding a drink in each picture.
This tells us you party… a lot. All the time actually. Is there anything else to you? Doesn’t seem like it. So why would we swipe you right?

4. You have pictures that aren’t of you… like of a hamster, a sports logo, or a beach?
What’s the point? The main points of having space for six pictures are so I can see if you’re attractive and not a “catfish.” If you’re wasting space on things that could otherwise be put in your bio, I’m gonna go ahead and guess that you’re 1.) not attractive or 2.) a catfish. Therefore, expect to get swiped left.

5. You have one picture.
I’m sure you have more than one picture of yourself on Facebook. Again, the two main points of having space for six pictures is so I can determine if you’re attractive or a catfish. If you have one picture, I’m gonna assume that you’re a catfish. Sorry not sorry.

6. Or maybe every picture you have is… the same freaking picture. 
I’m either gonna assume that you are a catfish OR you only like one picture of yourself. Maybe this picture is a miracle of photo shop or you only look attractive from one angle. Either way, bye.

7. Every picture you have is a group picture.
I don’t have the time to go through each picture and find the one common element. Which one is you!? And what if there’s two people who are both in each photo? Do I just cross my fingers, swipe right and “hope” it’s the more attractive one? No. LEFT.

8. Each picture is from far away, doesn’t include your face, or you have sunglasses on. 
I can assume at least 1 of 2 things (possibly both.) They are that a.) You’re a 40 yard fake out. Or b.) You’re a butter face. Both mean you’re gonna get swiped left. You set yourself up for that one.

9. More than one picture with a small child.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a guy who is good with children or babies, but a guy who has some of his own…? Not sure I’d like to get tangled up in some baby mama drama. One picture with a small child is fine -hey! Maybe it’s your niece? Sister? But I’m not looking to date a dad… even if you’re a hot dad. Multiple pictures with children screams “Dad” to me.

10. No picture at all.
Not even going to explain my reasoning.

23 Reasons Why Every Single Girl Should Have a Single Best Friend

Every single girl deserves a single best friend. Here’s why in 23 simple reasons: 

1. They get it. They understand that you want to have fun and go out and meet people. They understand that at the same time you sometimes miss the comfort of another human and you just miss cuddles.
2. Like a guy? Your best friend will go on a date with his friend just to get the scoop on your crush and see where his feelings are.
3. Going along with number 2, you always have someone to bring to your crush’s house/apartment when he has people over. Yes, I guess you can do this with anyone, but it’s different with single friends.
4. Want to meet up with a guy you like, but he’s out with one of his boys? What a coincidence, you’re with your hot single best friend! Meet up with them or go back to his place. No one has to get ditched and you’ll see your crush. Just avoid the tequila.
5. Go out on a date the same night, but not with each other and at different places. Call each other in the morning for a morning recap session about your dates.
6. No judgement about anything…
7. Especially when it comes to that questionable hook up that you rather not be reminded about.
8. Or that guy you went on a date with that you really shouldn’t have gone on a date with. Let’s not talk about that either.
9. They’re the best at reminding you that mistakes happen. And you’re allowed to make them. Better yet, you should make them.
10. Confused about your “not relationship?” Your best friend is in the same situation. You’re not alone. United you stand.
11. They understand the unpleasant feeling you get at family functions when you get asked this, “You still don’t have a boyfriend?” They’re the first one you text with your annoyance. They understand because they get that question too. Why can’t we just be single for a while? It’s like there’s a time limit?
12. They understand how you want to stay single.
13. They understand how you feel like you’ll be single forever… and won’t judge you for it.
14. You can talk their ear off about the guy you’re not in a relationship with forever and have them not get annoyed with it because hey, they do it too.
15. You can go out together and just celebrate each other and your freedom!
16. You can both laugh about bad dates and see who has had the worst.
17. If you both get the same match on Tinder mess with him. Send him the same exact messages at the same time. It’s kind of hilarious.
18. Go on a double date from Tinder, switch names and pretend to be each other. Never did it, but it would be so freaking fun.
19. You both are single… so you both have so much time… for each other!
20. Wine nights and ice cream are common because you’re both annoyed with whoever your casually dating or hooking up with.
21.  Feeling crazy with all the over analyzing and over thinking you’re doing because of a guy? They are doing the exact same thing and they let you know that no, you’re not crazy. You’re just a girl.
22. Because when you’re around your coupled up friends… you feel incredibly single. And not in a good way.
23. Because being single is so much more fun to be when someone else is by your side. They remind you that even though being single sucks sometimes and is often confusing… it’s fun. It’s awesome. It’s liberating!

Why Every 20-Something Woman Should Journal

I’m a self proclaimed journal lover. I’ve been keeping them since I was 5. Given, my journaling habits have surely transformed from when I was writing down my thoughts about my sisters picking on me or chasing boys on the playground. And they have transformed to where they are now: dating, college, religion, daily life stress and personal reflection. Here are the top 7 reasons why I journal and why you should too:

1. Relieve Stress
This is definitely number one. There is not one thing in the world that relieves my stress more than writing in my journal. Plaguing thoughts and troubling anxieties just become minuscule when you see them written out before you. Have something bothering you? -write it out!

2. You’ll remember events better.
I always take pride in my long-term memory (short-term isn’t that great.) I give all the credit to journaling. Remember how you were always told in school that you will remember things better when you write them down? This applies. I can recall any “special” moment in my life and recount it to someone as if it happened the day before ten times better if I write it down than if I didn’t.

3. It’s fun to read with your friends! 
I would never ever show any guy my journal. It’s top secret. But when it comes to my girl friends, they receive dramatic readings. My best friend and I both journal and we get a real kick out of rereading certain entries to each other.

4. Reflect upon your emotional development. 
Just recently I went back and read some of my journal that I kept during my senior year of high school. I was shocked at how much I’ve changed. Yes, I know that I’m not the same person I was at 17, but really… wow! It’s really awesome to see all the positive ways you have changed and you realize that every situation that life throws at you (good and bad) ends up shaping you to be who you were really meant to become. Everything happens for a reason.

5. You can reflect on it when you’re a parent.
This is a BIG reason why I journal. You may be thinking, “Okay you think way too far ahead.” But if you think about it, keeping a journal can really help you in the long run. I’m going to reflect on my own teenage angst when dealing with my future daughter’s so I can better relate to her. My own mom and I didn’t always see eye to eye, because I felt like she just didn’t “get” me. She probably forgot what it was like to be (insert whatever age I was at) and that’s understandable. I’ll forget what it was like to be 20 when I’m 50, but I know my journal will help me remember.

In addition to that, all those life lessons you learn (I have learned about 50 in the last year alone) you can reflect on them and offer up advice to your future daughter. When it comes to crappy boyfriends, money, friends, religion -just reflect and share your gained wisdom. I always tell myself that if I don’t get anything out of whatever unlucky predicament I’m in I’ll at least be able to give my future daughter advice.

6. Relieve boredom. 
I’m not only talking about journaling giving you something to do to past the time away, but I LOVE reading my old journals, or an entry from a few weeks ago. You can relive exciting, romantic or hilarious moments in your life by just reading your journal.

7. Figure out what you want. 
I’m at a point in life where I feel like I may NEVER figure out what I want. I will say I want one thing, but then I switch to wanting another and then I just can’t decide and all my feelings contradict each other. Although journaling may not help you figure out what you want, when you’re writing out your thoughts and opinions on a certain situation, you’ll get more clarity if you write it out.