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On a not-so-dark and completely storm-free day:

The phone rang. Looking at the number I thought: “this could be it!” I nervously picked up the phone:

“This is the Costco optical center calling to inform you that your glasses are ready to be picked up!”

It was time…

One hour later at Costco:

After cleaning my first pair of shiny, red-framed glasses, the Costo optical specialist, a very nice man named Bhupendra, handed me the glasses. I took a deep breath and put them on.

“Oh my GOSH! HOW have I been driving without these?!?!”

Stylin’ red frames: $149. Multivitamins (since we were at Costco anyway): $12. Seeing things crystal-clear: Priceless.

Soccer, basketball, baseball, ballet, tapdancing, ice skating, tennis, running, volleyball, hockey; you name it, I’ve tried it (except for football, which just seems way too dangerous for someone with my lack of hand-eye coordination skills). I cannot for the life of me remember which sport has quarters, if there is a half-time in baseball, or whether the puck goes into a net or a goalpost.

I will always choose an episode of Gilmore Girls over a pickup game (that’s a thing, right?). However, watching TV fails to help my waistline, and it is prime swimsuit season! Plus, I have a phobia of gyms. Every time I go to a gym, I feel as though the two-ton runningbacks (those are the giant people in football…I think) are watching me, disapproving of my inability to work the weight machine thingies.

With no sports skills and my irrational fear of beefy-people-town, I am not left with many workout options. However, this week I discovered Zumba (and no this is not product placement! It is just genuine gratitude).

Now all I have to do is put on a cute workout outfit (it boosts the self-esteem so you don’t immediately quit before you start working out), lock the doors, close the curtains, and rock out! No flying objects to catch, no utter failure, no confusing rowing machines (seriously: HOW DO THOSE THINGS WORK?!); there is just music and horribly embarrassing dancing.

What could be more beautiful?

I love the ocean: its smell, feel, and—most of all—its sublimity. I love the feeling of a wave as it carries me in its crest and propels me (hopefully in a gentle manner) towards the shore. However, what I love most about the ocean is its salt content.

The feeling I get after being in the ocean, the sticky-sweet feel and smell of my skin, the sun-drenched, giddy exhaustion, the sensation of brushing sand off my skin hours after returning from the beach, is like nothing else I know.

What I also love about seawater is the fact that it is God’s free hair product.You don’t have to buy expensive mousses, sprays, or spikey gels (which, while I’m on the subject, is really just not that attractive; I’m talking to you porcupine dudes!). All you need to do to acheive insane body, singular texture, and gorgeous shine is dip your head into the ocean, flip it— Baywatch style— and you’re good to go!

Many people go to the beach to tan or because they are one of those rare people who actually looks good in a bikini. I go because being in the saltwater makes me feel like it must have felt in the garden of Eden five minutes before Eve ate that stupid apple.

I have never eaten spam. I have no desire to eat it and in general it seems extremely gross to me. However, I still thought it was a beautiful thing when I saw it served at McDonald’s in Waikiki, Oahu.

This odd soliloquy on spam probably deserves some background.

My family frequents McDonald’s; and when I say frequent, I mean we sometimes make more than one trip in a day. I have known some of the employees at our local McDonald’s since I could walk. It is a symbol of familiarity and comfort for myself and the other members of the Brio Trio.

On our first vacation day in Hawaii, we drove thru McDonald’s on our way to the hotel. Along with the familiar number #10 (a ten-piece chicken nuggets meal), there were also combos that featured spam.

This made me smile because I was seeing something familiar yet foreign at the same time. The Hawaiian culture is one that is beautiful, vibrant, tropical, and extremely friendly, and to see this token of island life infused into an everyday experience of mine—even though it was simply spam—was beautiful.

Also it reminded me of this Monty Python clip…

I was busily bustling about at work the other day, when the secretary for my office came in, gave me a secretive smile, and said, “There’s a delivery for you!” I’m going to be honest, I groaned at first. I have a very loud and exuberant family, so naturally my first instinct was to assume that there was a gargantuan marching band in the foyer waiting to serenade the entire building.

Instead, there was a bouquet of beautiful roses in a myriad of colors: peach, yellow, red, white, and other combinations. I squealed a little bit. My mommy had brought me roses for my birthday (as well as lunch!).

Receiving roses produces a very singular feeling. It’s more than just the excitement of getting a present. These are roses. Roses symbolize love, friendship, well wishes, etc., which is quite a lot of responsibility for one flower! Giving the gift of roses says you care, really care. Plus, they tend to be pricey!

I’ve received roses twice in my life and both times made me feel glamorous, giddy, and giggly. I call it “Roses syndrome.”

Many may say roses are cliché. I say that they are one of the most beautifulest and specialest (so special that they defy the rules of grammar) everyday things ever!

Swish. Swish. Swish. Splat!

I wipe the drop of paint off my nose and continue painting the wall. The bright blue of my Hawaiian oasis slowly disappears under the new, clean layer of “Toffee Crunch,” the warm, brown color symbolizing my initiation into a new phase of life.

I always forget, until I pick up the paint roller, what an amazing experience it is to paint a room. It feels as though an entire world of possibilities explodes into existence with the first stroke. I can be anyone in this room, with this color; this library-themed bedroom doesn’t know me yet.

The Hawaiian oasis room saw me graduate from High School, obtain my A.A., move away to college. It sat patiently, awaiting my return on occasional weekends. I remember the day my friends came over to help me paint it the incredibly bright blue that I had picked in a moment of insanity. We laughed and splashed paint on each other; it was on that day that my friend acquired the nickname “sticky blue butt.” It was a good room.

But now I’ve graduated college, entered the “real world,” and I’m ready for this change.

Swish. Swish. Swish.

Bring it on “real world”! Toffee Crunch and I are ready.

I’ve had a crappy day. I am torn between laughing and crying. I know there is only one solution. I try to resist. My finger finds the familiar button and the window slides down.

“Can I help you?”

“Yea, one large diet coke, please.”

“That’ll be $1.08 at the first window.”

I shell out my precious coins, receive the prize, and take that first, ice-cold sip.

Ahhhhhhhh. All better 🙂

I love the feel of cotton. I love wrapping a cotton sweater around myself or snuggling in my cotton sheets. When I was younger, around ten or twelve, my mom and I decided to discover the origins of cotton. We learned that one type of cotton comes from the Kapok tree, which, coincidentally, grows in a parking lot by our house. Naturally, as dedicated homeschoolers, we packed ourselves into the car and went to investigate.

There before us rose the glorious Kapok tree, full of pods that were simply exploding with fluffy cotton. However, it soon became apparent that we were at an impasse. The tree was tall and we were not. My mother, being the creative woman that she is, quickly came up with a solution. Hoisting me as high as she could, she armed me with an umbrella and ordered me to swat down the precious fluffballs. A monumental battle ensued but alas, being only mere mortals, we were doomed to failure. Did I mention that the Kapok tree, among its many other qualities, possesses a trunk chock-full of spikes? No? Well, keep that in mind.

There we were, a swaying, umbrella-wielding giant, engaged in epic warfare with a tree in a public parking lot located by a busy street. The passersby must have gasped in horror when my mother lost her balance and we both went crashing into the aforementioned, eagerly awaiting spikes. I cried… a lot. However, we were victorious and as we laughed and sobbed on our way home, we clutched our prize: fluffy cotton.

Every time I pull on a cotton t-shirt or snuggle in my sheets, I am reminded of my childhood battle with the Kapok tree. Although this is a basic fabric, its simple beauty reminds me that knowledge can only be earned through dedication, toil, and sometimes, epic umbrella battles.

I started an internship yesterday and was pretty much terrified as I walked through the doors. Everyone is busy there and they move around the office as though they were working on something that could make or break the country, which they very well might be! I sat at my desk and thought, “What have I gotten myself into?!” Then, as I was introduced to what appeared to be millions of people whose names I can never hope to remember, they began to smile at me. It was amazing how comforting that one tiny gesture was. Every time someone smiled, I saw a little bit of God in them and gained a little bit of peace. I also started returning their smiles. One little, seemingly insignificant twitch of the mouth might not seem important, but it was beautiful to me! From all the scared interns in the world, pass on a smile today, please!