Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TIPS FOR WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN YOUR OWN BED IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY AND FEEL LIKE YOU'RE HAVING AN IDENTITY CRISIS

You know how everyone is always like, "Oh my gosh you studied abroad? Did you travel? Did you have fun? Did you discover yourself? Did you mature in ways you never thought possible? Did you go to Paris? Did you see Big Ben? Did you get lost? Did you meet new people? Did you make amazing friendships that will last forever? Did you eat a lot? Did you even have time to study anything?", and you're just like, "Um yes", and then you scurry away before you are forced to give any details because if you mention ANY memory you might burst into tears because it is just a fading memory and you cannot handle that? 

Yeah. 

So the title of this post, "TIPS FOR WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN YOUR OWN BED IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY AND FEEL LIKE YOU'RE HAVING AN IDENTITY CRISIS" is supposed to sort of let you into my mind right now. I basically have come home from having many adventures "prancing", as my mom likes to call it, around Europe. (I prefer the word "slugging" but she thinks all I did was have fun or something???) It feels like it was just yesterday I was waking up with a hangover in Paris or waking up on my birthday in Amsterdam. It feels like just yesterday I was waking up nervous for my final presentation in London or waking up in Galway knowing I was about to spend the day with two of my best friends from high school. 

So what is someone who just had the time of their life traveling around Europe supposed to do when they find themselves waking up at home again? 
My bed in Edinburgh, Scotland
Well, there are lots of options and ways to look at it...
The optimist in me is forcing myself to choose to be happy that I am home safe and can finally RELAX (after working 8 hours at my grandpa's coffee factory every week day this winter break that is...) and not have to live out of a duffle bag on the weekends, sleep in hard foreign beds, and shower in tiny cold unsanitary bathrooms of hostels.

The "needs to keep busy" part of me is definitely keeping busy. 
- I am focusing more on my blog and trying to come up with unique ideas.
- I am reading A LOT: I finished four books THIS week -  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Blood of an Englishman, and Not the End of the World.  I am now reading Disgrace and am going to start Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix next. I have like 10 more books I wanted to read this break before I go back to school... in 9 days... uh oh! 
 - I have been watching a lot: Veronica Mars (TV show), all three of The Hobbit movies... AGAIN, all of the Harry Potter movies... AGAIN, A Long Way Down, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Also, I have been watching a lot of behind the scenes Youtube videos from various movies. 
- I have been writing a lot. I am working on my novel and two plays. 
- I have started two scrapbooks, which I will show the finished products of before I go back to school. One is on my family trip to Orlando and Universal Studios and the other is on my study abroad (but that one is more of a memory journal than a typical scrapbook). 
- I am spending time with loved ones and friends. I just had lunch with my coworker (who is a great friend) and dinner with my friend Alyssa today. Tomorrow, I am getting breakfast with my mom and my high school theatre director :) My brother Pat is coming up from Columbus to spend the weekend with us!


So, from all of my own actions, this is my advice to anyone experiencing anything remotely similar:
- Keep yourself entertained and intrigued - movies, TV, books, etc. You just came from seeing some of the great sights in the world, you gotta keep yourself impressed or you will feel hollow.
- Do something to help keep those experiences preserved in a healthy way - scrapbook, memory journal, write stories, etc.  
- Spend time with the people you missed! They missed you back and want to see your face in person, especially if you are leaving again - like I am from for New Jersey in 9 days.
- Love yourself and love your memories <3

 Hope some of this made sense haha. This quite possibly was just an incoherent rant so I apologize.
xx

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January Music | 2015

Alright so these are the songs defining my January right now.
"Sloppy Seconds" - Watsky
"I'll Be Good" - Jaymes Young 
"Long Way Down"- Robert DeLong
"Don't You Find" - Jamie T

Honorable mentions from late December: Vance Joy's "Mess is Mine" and Dan Black + Kid Cudi's "Symphonies" (which has an incredible music video in my opinion)

ALSO, I unashamedly am obsessed with J.R.R. Tolkien now. I am not only in love with The Lord of the Rings, but The Hobbit as well. These two songs, Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire" and Billy Boyd's "The Last Goodbye" are constantly on repeat when I am in a chill mood, or just feeling extra emotional over my LOTR/Hobbit obsession. These songs are not only beautifully relevant  and made for the movies, but they are actually incredible songs that I would love even if I did not understand the context behind them. 

What have you been listening to this winter? I obviously have playlists galore on Spotify (which you can follow by looking up my name - Grace Leneghan), but these are some of the stand outs. 
xx

Friday, January 9, 2015

Roses de Chloé

So since my family went on a Christmas vacation, we did not exchange any gifts this year. I did however get one gift from my Godfather and aunt - the perfume I have been craving: Roses de Chloé :)
It was practically perfect timing since I just finished off my Burberry Brit Sheer Perfume and really wanted a fresh change for the new year. I am already completely obsessed with this scent. I had tried it before with a sample size sent to me by Sephora when I had ordered several items that warranted five free samples of my choice. I immediately fell in love and the three or four times I got out of the sample, I had been complimented from the people around me saying I smelled really good! It was a sign that this was the perfume for me. So every time from that point on that I was in Sephora (probably for the next 6 months), I would spray myself with the perfume, knowing I would need to wait to be gifted it because I could not spend that much money on it myself.
And now I finally have it and I am so happy! I am also dying to try Daisy by Marc Jacobs. 
What is YOUR favorite perfume?  
xx
P.S. The picture I placed the perfume bottle on to take this photo is me and my dad at a wedding when I was three <3

Thursday, January 8, 2015

bareMinerals Eyecolors


These beautiful shimmering shades highlight the eyes; however, I have found the application of them to be quite difficult. I have never really been a fan of loose powders or loose eyeshadows because I always seem to make a mess. I much prefer a pressed powder and a pressed eyeshadow. But nevertheless, my personal taste in texture has not prevented me from liking these, particularly because of the colors. These five are gorgeous! I used Snowflake and Drama on New Year's Eve and it turned out pretty well. All in all, I would not recommend buying these, but since I was gifted them, I am definitely going to use them, most likely paired with my all time favorite Naked 3 Palette. I have used the Naked 3 every day that I have worn makeup this past year. The palette colors just look so good with my skin tone that I have found no need for alternatives. But, I am going to try and incorporate all five of these colors into my daily or going out makeup routine. My first idea for a look is to add Snowflake to the corners of my eyes for the pop of vibrancy. 
Have you any ideas or have you used these specific (or similar) products?  




Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 | A Happy Whirlwind

I cannot lie, 2014 was one of the best years of my life. Looking back, I realize I have accomplished a lot of my goals, matured in many ways, and experienced things I will never forget. I think it is good to look back on mistakes to learn something from them. I also make sure to look back on the best moments and be proud! So this post may be mostly for my own sake, but I will share it with you!

A couple lows and the lessons I learned from them:

- My computer crashed and I lost thousands of photos on iPhoto and tons of videos on iMovie. I also lost some documents but luckily I had most documents backed up on my Google drive. 
Lesson learned: Keep an external hard drive and back up at least once a week. Also, utilize Google drive more. Also don't delete photos off of memory card until computer is backed up. 

- I lost 23 lbs. over the summer.... and gained it all back this past fall semester.
Lesson learned: Stick to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Now I am striving to lose the weight again not for any other purpose than it MAKES ME HAPPY. I know I don't NEED to, I know I don't HAVE to for my health, I know I don't need to STRESS about it, but it is important to me and no one can pass judgment or make me feel bad for that. 

Now, here are my 2014 highlights:
- THEATRE | I acted in my first professional staged reading of a new musical in NYC, acted in two full length productions, took several acting classes and workshops, light designed two shows, stage managed a show, and I wrote two plays + several stand alone monologues. I also have seen over 50 plays and performances this year.

- TRAVEL | Not only did I study abroad and live in London for 4 months, but throughout that time, I traveled to all around England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, and The Netherlands. I went to over 30 different cities and visited places I had only dreamed about :)

- FRIENDS | I have made several new, really important friends this past year (shout out to Milly, Carolyn, Marley, Sheamus, Brooke, Nate, Chris, Karianne, Emmy, Eryn, Julia, Chris, Sinead, Jules, Annie, Ahmad, Charlie, and Bret).

- ACADEMICS | I got Dean's List again both semesters this year and maintained Honors. Three more semester of university to go.... eek!

- TRIED NEW THINGS | I played rugby, I dyed my hair about seven different colors throughout the year, and I learned new recipes to cook when I am on my own. I also tried to be more patient and understanding, especially when a friend has frustrated or disappointed me. I need to keep that up! Being the bigger person is always better. 

- FAMILY VACATION | My trip to Orlando for Christmas with my family was such a highlight and perfect way to end the year! I love them so much and we had such an incredibly happy time. 

So I will leave this post with my favorite photo of me from this year, taken in Edinburgh, Scotland overlooking the Leith. I felt on top of the world here and it feels like a perfect photo to remember this year by (even though there are about 10,000 I have from this year to remember it by haha). 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Writing for My Blog and Beyond


So one of my blog goals for this new year is to write more. I remember when I first started A Bit Graceful and realizing quickly that it would have a more photo story-telling base than anything. I believe I have improved my photography immensely in the past two years but I would love to now focus on my writing through this blog. 
My writing experience comes down to the fact that I am good at academic essays, research papers, and any short format of creative writing. I am a playwright in actuality, but a novelist in my dreams. When I was younger, especially in high school when I had a lot of lows from pressure, stress, and death in my life, I would write ideas in a binder. These ideas would formulate the structure for a novel I would presumably write if I ever had the determination and time, however, I never actually wrote one. I have a binder FILLED with at least ten different ideas for a novel, one of which I have been developing since and have never ceased to think about as it has always touched very close to me. Now, I will let you know if it ever becomes something more than the pages of research, chapter ideas, character lists, descriptions, & relationships but for now, it will just be something I come back to every once in a while to ponder over. 
In terms of my playwriting, I have written two one act plays (each about 45 minutes to an hour) based off of real events. 
Swastika was inspired by a current event in October of 2013 where three teens in Portland, Oregon kidnapped and tortured a classmate who had been bullying them. He escaped his captivity and they faced severe charges. They were all 14 and 15 years old. My play is told from multiple perspectives and probably the piece I have put the most time into of all. 
Overcrowded is inspired by a Postman's Park Plaque in London honoring Ellen Donovan, a woman who rushed into a burning house to save a neighbor's children and perished in the flames. That is all that is known about her. So I created a story from that. 
I also have about four concepts for other plays going, including an adaptation of Vile Bodies (combined with aspects of the movie Bright Young Things) by Evelyn Vaughn, a comedy about my two friends, a modern-day drama/comedy about a dinner party of a bunch of early twenty year olds, and another drama about an early 20th century London house and all its tenants. I also have written several monologues, which I would love to submit to be published eventually. I think being an actor helps a lot in writing monologues because you know inherently what works and what feels too indulgent or contrived.
So there's my personal writing but what about this blog? I don't think posting my creative work on here is something I would want to do but I do think sharing some of my ideas might be beneficial to hear feedback occasionally. Obviously, my main goal of incorporating more writing into this blog means more writing on every day posts. I tend to slab tons of photos together and let them speak for themselves but I am going to try to put more weight on my words. 
What do you think? I am trying not to do a succinct list of "New Year's Resolutions" but I do want to try new things to hopefully make me a better blogger (and person). 
xx