Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Second Half(Minus December)

The second half of the year flew by, as it always seems to do.
Which for me is sometimes good(for school) but usually leaves me feeling nostalgic & as if i'd missed out on something as the time disappeared before my busy eyes.

For a good 2 minutes, i sat here trying to remember how i celebrated the 4th of July this year, then it came to me- i ate lunch with my boyfriend, & went to work. It was an odd Independence Day celebration, but i was lucky enough to get to wait on my Natalie & her momma, & watch the fireworks boom over the Arkansas River outside the restaurant i work at. I paid a short weekend visit to said best friend just two weeks before her big day. This month, I also became a temporary Georgia peach-visiting my family there for a couple of days & enjoying the much needed time spent with my mom, dad, & sister.

The first day of this month was quite possibly the most beautiful day of the year. I watched my best friend marry her soul mate on a perfect summer day. I was able to spend a week with my wonderful family from new hampshire, spent the night in a treehouse with Nicholas in celebration of our two year anniversary, & began my sophomore year of college.

Fell in love with the darkroom, spent many hours in said darkroom, ate a plethora of cherry tomatoes from the garden & bid farewell to Nicks dreadlocks.

Spent many many more hours in the darkroom, celebrated my 20th birthday by having dinner with my family, witnessing my boyfriends song being played by a bigtime DJ, and had a merry time at my mad-hatter tea party with beautiful people.

Passed my sophomore major advancement interview for admission into the art program(!), had the most amazing nature experience with my love, & celebrated Thanksgiving by having dinner with my family in the warmth of my parent's house.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The First Half

I am going to go ahead & follow everyones lead & do a "year in review" post with my favorite photos from each month of the year.
It has been a beautiful one.

I shot my first roll of film with the Diana+ camera my love bought me for my birthday the October before & had my first really exciting art classes with inspiring professors & non-stop creativity flowing through my brain.

Celebrated my sisters(pictured above as pseudo-indian) 21st birthday by dressing up as 5th graders with 60 other college-aged students(yes, 90's style-spice girls, overalls, & slap bracelets all the waaay) had a lovely calm valentines day hike through the woods, & visited my best friend & finally met the lovely Jess and her beautiful little family I also started teaching a yoga class at the local public library.

Had an amazing adventure with my love that involved spending the night in a teepee, hiking to the petit jean water fall, & cooking delicious food while drinking blue moon all night. Celebrated my Daddyo's 40th birthday & enjoyed the excitement that accompanies the first signs of spring.

Picked many wild flowers from the yard, started my first organic garden, and spent many many moons dedicating my time & mind to art projects that ended up very well worth it, and had my first university level art show.

Brought home the sweetest little tiny white, blue-eyed, cuddly kitten, named her Lili, & quickly became a cat lady. I watched my garden bloom, enjoyed a couple weeks of no work & no school before starting my waiting job at Bosco's Brew Pub.

Spent nearly the whole month taking a Design I class that was very relaxing & enjoyable-met the sweetest older woman who was taking the class just for fun. Spent several days floating around the pool with Nick & basking in the warmwarmwarm June sun.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

pura vida

Today, on this cold pre-winter day, I miss Costa Rica.

I appreciate where I live, & the things I am able to do here, but i have days were nostalgia gets the best of me,

& i dream of being on those dirt roads again.

I was going through old files today, and found this narrative I wrote in my first semester of college.

I have my last final today, so for lack of time to write anything else, I thought I would share it.


There is an energy that radiates between us as human beings, as I see it- an invisible force that flows from our fingertips, our eyes, our lips. We are all interconnected; we feed off of each other, draw inspiration from each other, and live because we have each other. I firmly believe that every person who enters our lives, whether for 10 minutes or for infinity, is there for a purpose. On my summer escapade backpacking around Costa Rica, I found something I had never thought I would find, and it will forever be etched into my memory.

We finally stretched our legs on the gravel roads of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica late in the evening after a three hour van ride with our newest Tico friend, Carlos-a man with perfect English he had picked up merely two months prior, and with enough kindness to stop and let us see the monkeys swing in their treetops, like children on a jungle gym. Clad in our backpacks and Chacho's, exhausted from our journey, and overwhelmed with the beauty of a foreign country and culture, we walked down the unpaved roads past children picking orange's, Germans drinking in bars, Rasta's with dreads getting high on the beach, and the tall local who walked around with a stick shouting, "ahh!" for some unrecognizable reason. Settling in hammocks, we fell asleep to rain on the tin roof of Rockin' J's, the place we paid merely five dollars to bunk at.

Dirty in our sandy shoes and unshowered hair, my sister and I talked about an old man she had met the last time she visited this Caribbean town. "His name is Juan and he is so much like Poppy, Tori." Immediately, I pictured my grandfather who took his last breath in a hospital bed surrounded by everyone who loved him two years prior. I was reminded of how much i missed seeing his sky blue eyes as he waved by to me from his porch swing every evening. We set out to find a new place to stay. Tucked away between clothes-lined yards, and painted in the colors of Jamaica, stood a tiny lodge. As we walked around, not knowing who lived there, my sister shouted, "Hola?!" Out from a dimly lit room stepped an old man. "Juan!" my sister exclaimed, but before she even said his name, i knew it was him like the way i felt it in my heart that Poppy was going to die the morning we rushed to the hospital in silence to say goodbye. I saw the resemblance instantly. He was a tall, gangly, old man with large hands and a blunt, but inviting personality; a man with spirit. He was, hands down, the Spanish version of my Poppy. I could not stop staring at him, like a mother who sees her child for the first time, awed that she had created this perfect gift to the world.

We spent the next five days venturing around Puerto Viejo where all the people are electrically ecstatic to be alive, and we would return at night to stay up having conversations with Juan about God, lovers, families, politics, and his plan to make this town into a "paradise for people who can not afford paradise." Halfway through our journey of filling voids that had before this trip, been evident in our lives, we sat on Juan's patio discussing humanity. Hanging above Juan's head was the only bulb radiating light on this mosquito flocked night. "You remind me of my Grandfather. He died two years ago," I said to Juan as he started a makeshift fire. He looked up at me with a smile on his face, like the one you mother gives you when you reveal something secret to her; something you would never tell anyone. Not two seconds late, the light bulb flickered off, revealing darkness. Juan pointed up at the lack of light, and said matter-of-factly, "This is symbolism. You tell me something special, and the light goes out. This is big. This means a lot." He touched his heart, looking at me in genuine compassion, and said, "Thank you for that. It means a lot." Tears filled my eyes as they did for days following Poppy's death at the mere mention of his passing, and i knew we had made this trip for a reason.

Boarding the plane to Costa Rica from Memphis, Tennessee, excited and nervous, anxious for a new land, I did not anticipate finding what i found. I expected new tastes and sounds, rainforest adventures, green valleys and mountains, and seeing my sister again for the first in a month. I expected to get lost in translation of a language that i still do now know. I expected to see monkeys, birds, and little Tico children, and i did see all of those things. However, i never once imagined that my voyage to this foreign land where you never say, "Goodbye," only, "I'll see you later," would alter my views on humanity and my Poppy's death so drastically. I realized that he was there- my favorite old man with his Yankee accent-holding my hand and reassuring me that although he is gone for now, it is possible to find his beauty in a Columbian native who has seen the world in his life through trying, exciting, and beauty-filled eyes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Ashley & Todd, two friends of mine from years & years ago, recently became engaged.
A few months ago, they asked me if I would take their engagement photos, & of course, I said yes.
Here I am, a month later, finally putting the last finishing touches on them.
I hope they love them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

short & sweet

I am promising a real update soon!
Lots of lovely things happening.
I get to spend this week with my family, & hug my best friend for the first time in months!
Little time to write.
Tomorrow is my Sophomore Major Advancement Interview for my Art major, determining whether i proceeeed.
I feel optimistic & calm.
Life is trés magnifique!

All of my love, beautiful people of the internet.

Monday, November 9, 2009


we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.
my wolfe.
i love him.

Monday, November 2, 2009

my kindred spirit

I recently had a conversation with a good friend about best friends as "soul mates," in a sense. Not in a romantic way, but in the way that you know & understand & love each other so much that no matter where you go in life or how many continents or states separate you, you can rest assured that they will never stray form your thoughts, or you from theirs.
I am blessed to be twenty years old & have no doubt in my mind that Natalie, will always be that person for me-
my true kindred spirit
ma meilleur amie.
Natalie & i met through bus rides & bicycles rides down busy roads just for fun & "lead-singers" & dancing out of sunroofs in one of the billion cars she went through in high school.
We worked at waffle house together where we were told to stay on opposite sides of the restaurant by our pill poppin' redneck boss because we talked too much.
Over two years ago, Natalie moved to Columbia, Missouri where she had her heart set on for school. It was really hard for me knowing that my best friend would no longer be a short car drive away. On the way to Missouri to move her into her dorm, we cried a little(well, she cried a lot ; ] ) & reminisced on all the good moments we had had, & all the exciting moments we have to look forward to in our futures. Despite the distance, I have never once in the last two years felt for a moment that our friendship has ever been hindered.
It's never been easy for me to look at every friend i've had as a possible permanent presence in my life-but Natalie has always been different in that way. Though we may not talk everyday and sometimes not every week, each time we do, we simply pick up where we left off. I know now why she was so drawn to there of all places when i see her with her husband, Luke. They embody beauty in every sense of the word, & have never ceased to inspire me in the relationship i have with Nick.
We have indeed seen & experienced a lot together. When i lost my Poppy, Natalie was one of two friends of mine who came to the funeral. I don't think i've ever told her how much that meant to me. When Natalie & Luke got married in August, I stood next to her as her maid of honor. She was the most beautiful bride, & the allure of their wedding is not possible to describe in words.
I sometimes get emotional when i think about us, because i often find it hard to believe such a beautiful friendship can exist. But it does, & i am eternally grateful for it.
I love you, Natalie!