Saturday, June 26, 2010

More Clothes!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Watercolor Weekend

This weekend my parents left me at home and drove to down to PA to help Meredith and Kyle move into their new home. Instead of throwing a crazy house party as some young twenty-somethings might do, my weekend plans were a little more mild (though in my opinion, alot more fun!)

On Friday I had dinner with my childhood friend Laura Fusco and her sister Lisa at Mamma Mia's Italian restaurant (yum!). Laura slept over my house afterwards so I didn't have to spend the night alone - thanks girl! The following morning we slept in, made ourselves breakfast and watched the recent BBC film, An Education. After that we threw on our swimsuits, packed the car with sunscreen and towels and left the house in pursuit of a beach! We drove to Duxbury beach but never ended up parking and pitching a spot in the sand - it was far too crowded on a sunny Saturday afternoon! Nonetheless, we had a fun day driving around, drinking Marylou's delicious iced coffee and picking up some snacks at Trader Joe's grocery store. We took a stroll around downtown Plymouth and eventually returned to Laura's house where we sat on her pool deck and caught the last few rays of sun before it disappeared for the evening.

Sunday was the normal routine: I went to church in the morning, sang with the choir and then returned home around noontime. I spent most of the afternoon playing with my watercolor set. This week I was inspired by the work of artist Caitlin McGauley, to make some watercolor creations of my own! Here are a few of my 'creations'...

Here's a youtube clip featuring the artist who inspired me for this weekend...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Collage Clothing Line

In a perfect world in which college tuition wasn't ridiculously expensive and art school wasn't so time-consuming, I probably would be pursuing a degree in fashion illustration. Although I enjoy studying English literature at my liberal arts college, I often find that I can never escape my love of color, texture and design - and above all, CLOTHES! Here are some fashions I put together from magazine clippings - a sort of collage clothing-line.

Getting Geared up for Oxford!

As some of you may have heard, I am making plans to study abroad during the Spring 2011 Semester. My goal is to spend a semester steeped in studies of English literature at the romantic, yet rigorous Oxford University! When I am ever bored, I can't help but watch these interesting video-clip testimonials from current Oxford students...

The Wall of 100 Faces - University of Oxford

There is no guarantee yet that I will be accepted into the Oxford Study Abroad Programme as I have not yet completed and submitted the application. If not Oxford, I tell my friends, then I will do my best to at least study somewhere outside the country! I think study abroad programs are an awesome opportunity for students to experience other academic communities outside their own and to experience a different educational system (I really admire Oxford's tutorial system of education in which students receive individualized instruction from tutors and then spend most of their time studying and researching on their own - that would be well-suited to my own independent study-habits!). And study abroad is of course great for the sake of experiencing other cultural climates - a semester abroad sounds like a truly enriching opportunity!

Irish Tea

I just HAD to include these photos of the tea and scones I ate while in Ireland this past May! I think tea and scones are my absolute favorite snack. In Ireland, the scones are more biscuit-like than other scones I've tasted which are more like cookies in their texture and taste. Irish scones in comparison contain much less sugar - a dollop of jam and clotted cream adds the right amount of sweetness to them!

Kyle and Meredith's Wedding

Just three days after my return from Ireland in May,I got to watch my older sister Meredith tie the knot with her fiancé Kyle! After flying into JFK airport on May 27th, my parents picked me up in NYC and drove me to Philadelphia to assist Meredith with her wedding preparations. The three days leading up to the wedding (May 30th) were undoubtedly chaotic. As Meredith was finishing up her final days at work, I was sitting on her living room couch writing out place cards for the reception and trying to recover from a nasty cold so I could sing a solo at the ceremony! When Saturday came, my mom, Christie (Meredith's roommate), Katie (my other older sister!)and I were out and about getting manicures and pedicures and prepping for the rehearsal dinner.

Then Sunday, a.k.a. "The Big Day" finally came! Meredith's former employer, Elaine, whose daughter Meredith babysat while in college, was kind enough to lend her house to us as a getting-ready venue. Elaine and her daughter Hailey decorated the house with all sorts of special decorations including a purple and white balloon arch over the front door and purple and white flowers planted in their back yard. As the bridesmaids and mothers got ready for the wedding, we munched on fruit and french toast and sipped delicious mimosas! Kyle's sister Melissa invited her personal hair dresser up from New Jersey to do hair and make-up for Meredith and some other bridesmaids, and while I opted to take care of my own thick and unruly mane, they did a highly professional job for everyone else! Meredith's hair and makeup looked amazing and when we helped her into her elegant white dress, she truly was a stunning bride!

Meanwhile - enough about the pre-wedding festivities! On to the wedding itself (although it seems to me that the getting-ready part of any occasion is always as fun, if not more fun than the occasion itself!). The ceremony went smoothly and the pastor who married M and K did a great job of keeping things under control and guiding them through their vows. The flowers looked amazing, thanks to Auntie Ellen and the florist friends from her church! We took some great pics with the photographer outside the church afterward and then Kyle and Meredith drove away from the ceremony in a bright red vintage mustang. It was great to be in the presence of so many family members and friends at the reception and I had alot of fun dancing the night away with cousin Nora and my sisters!

Speaking of the Queen...

A photo of Killarney National Park, Killarney Ireland, Co. Kerry

The Muckross House at Killarney National Park

This past May I had the awesome opportunity to visit Ireland with the Messiah College Concert Choir. For ten days we toured the southern part of the country, visiting pubs and popular tourist locations by day, and then performing by night (though not every night, fortunately) - mostly in Catholic cathedrals. Among the places we visited was Killarney National Park. On the grounds of the park is the famous Muckross House (featured above) which was dedicated by its owners to the park for museum purposes. We were given a fascinating tour of the house by one of its tour guides (p.s. I LOVED hearing the tour guide's accent!). Throughout the tour, our guide kept pointing out decorative elements in the house etc. that were added by its owners in honor of Queen Victoria's visit to the house. Its earliest owners, Henry Arthur Herbert and Mary Balfour Herbert, spent 6 years preparing for the Queen's two-days stay at the Muckross House! Their goal was to score brownie points with the Queen when she came to visit them and they expected that she would compensate their warm hospitality by honoring them with the titles of Lord and Lady Herbert. However - her visit happened shortly before Prince Albert's young death at 42 and apparently the Queen was so devastated by his death that she completely forgot about the Herberts and never offered them the ranking of lordship. The tour guide said this lack of attention from the Queen probably led to the Herberts decline in finances and social standing - an unfortunate circumstance for them, but who can blame Queen Victoria? Prince Albert was an amazing husband and if he looked anything like Rupert Friend in real life, I'd also be grieved by his death! According to "The Young Victoria," Queen Victoria had Albert's clothes laid out every morning of her own life, after he died. She never could forget him I suppose!

A photo of me standing in the gardens surrounding the Muckcross House which included a variety of beautiful plants! The rhododendron bushes (pronounced "rhodeeedendron" by the Irish) were absolutely enormous!

The Young Victoria

Last weekend I watched "The Young Victoria" on Comcast OnDemand. Two words: GREAT MOVIE. The film is both historically accurate and aesthetically appealing. Furthermore, it is no cheap chick flick! Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend do justice to the genre of romance - although I suppose it is their characters, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who give love a good reputation! I never knew both Victoria and Albert were such strong individuals. The movie gave me a new respect for these historical figures!