January 2, 2014

2013 | a year in review

Hello There!

And wow, what a year. 

So much has happened to me in 2013 that has made it a truly incredible 12 months. I don't remember if 13 is a lucky or unlucky number, but either way, this year has brought blessings and curses.

I'll start from the beginning.

In early 2013, I signed up for a speech competition. Although quite good at speaking in front of people, I had never spoken in a contest, and not for money. But I surprised myself and made it to the second round. While I did not make it much farther, it was my first year, and I was able to get about 200 dollars to put in my savings. A good experience overall. 

In March, my Grandma became a year older. She is my only grandparent left, yet unfortunately it has taken the loss of my other grandparents to realize how precious she, and the rest of my family, is. I see her often and love spending time with her. She truly is an incredible woman. 

Around this time of year I made a few bad choices, and strayed off the path of the determined, level-headed, and somewhat intelligent person that I thought I was. I lost my parents trust, which I have come to find is worse that losing your telephone or car keys, and lost faith in myself. It has taken me a long time to believe in myself again, and I am now more determined than ever to do everything it takes to give myself the best future possible. I now truly know the meaning of the phrase "every mistake is a lesson."

In April my ballroom group had a seasonal show, and it was fantastic. I was named dance captain of the year, and helped teach my peers and create a wonderful show. It was difficult being a student and teaching my friends without being condescending, but the director said I did a wonderful job, and at the end of the year I was given the director's award. I was blown away to have been chosen by my director as a standout student, and I felt so honored.

Then came the end of school. I passed my classes with good grades, and was courageous enough to take two AP exams. While I did horribly on both, I felt triumphant for accomplishing so much in one year. At that moment, I felt like junior year was possible, perhaps even manageable. I'm not so sure now!

During the summer I was a very busy woman. I was accepted to take an International Relations course at Stanford University, and spend three weeks learning from an amazing professor on a beautiful campus, meeting students and other incredible people from around the globe. It was by far the most stressful and intense three weeks of my life, but I loved every minute of it and had an amazing time. 

I also attended a ballroom dance camp with my dance partner at BYU, a university in Utah. It was a bit of a culture shock, to say the least. Utah is populated heavily by Mormons, and I am not religious, so it took me the entirety of the intensive to become accustomed to their lifestyle. I met some amazing people there and learned so much, but I can't say I would jump on the chance to go back. 

My sister went off to college for her second year, and the beginning of my junior year soon began. I put a lot on my plate, yet was determined to see all of my classes through to the end. So far, so good. 

I was also named the president of my school's political club, JSA, and I was thrilled. I began the year with a rocky start and lots of obstacles, but I think I have become a skilled president, and I have come to learn how to manage a cabinet of students and run a professional club. It has been an amazing learning experience. 

In September I began writing for another beauty blog called Presh Life. It's a blog about beauty and self love, and it's designed for girls. I have only written a few posts, but I have loved writing on it and will continue to do so. 

At the beginning of the school year I also found a few close friends. These few friends have become some of my best friends, and through just about everything I know they will be there for me. I have never had a lot of friends, but I am just fine with a few that I can call to talk about boys, lip gloss, or life's struggles at three in the morning. In this case, less is more.

In October I went to visit my sister at school in Washington D.C, and I got to visit a bunch of colleges. I love the feel of universities on the east coast, and I love D.C. because it's a city for international relations, which is what I hope to pursue in college. I had never really taken a college tour or seen what each school has to offer me. I am excited for university, and a little scared too.

After only 15 months I got my braces off. I have never had the confidence to smile, but having shiny, straight teeth gave me confidence and a small self-esteem boost that encouraged me to take more photos and smile more. It was a change of outer beauty, sure, but of inner beauty too. 

November 18 came and I experienced the phenomenon that is the "Sweet Sixteen." And it's frankly a load of crap. I went out with my mother the weekend before, where she took me out to do 16 things for my 16th birthday. It was so nice and thoughtful, and trumped any other gift. I then had a lovely dinner with the family the day of, and called it quits. Yes, it would be nice to be showered with presents once a year, but I am trying to be a less materialistic person, and I enjoyed getting less than 20 presents and opening up each one to find more stuff I do not need. It was a simple birthday and I loved it.

Fast-forward to Christmas, when everyone was home from school and trips and together again, and we all were allowed to be materialistic and greedy for one morning. I got lovely presents, and my sister and I got my parents an Ipad. I was feeling pretty chuffed for being so generous. Like my father says, "It's better to give than to receive." 

And now the year comes to a close. No, I did not party on NYE. I watched New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Two and a Half Men reruns, and then smiled and jumped around for a minute when it hit midnight. I'm not much of a party animal, and my social life is just about non-existent, which is why I love this blog. It's my own piece of the Internet, and it's so nice to look back and see how much I have grown. I admit, I get sad and frustrated when I have 8 followers and 36 subscribers on YouTube, but I have come to understand that all good things come to those who wait. I love reading comments and answering questions, and hopefully one day lots of people will be able to read this little piece of the Internet and enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. 

I hope you all had a wonderful 2013. Here's to 2014- the year of love, happiness, peace, and prosperity. 

xx BB

P.S: Below are some of my favorite posts from 2013. Enjoy!