10 miles

There’s something about Burlington that inspires me. I don’t know if it’s the hustle and bustle of city living or the proximity to such rich and diverse scenery but I love being outside here! And the same cannot be said for when I lived in MA. I love going out on new adventures. My latest was today.

My good friend Karin and I just recently got bikes and today we took them out for their first ride of the season. We biked the Champlain Bikeway for the afternoon until we reached this secluded beach up north with amazing views of the Adirondacks.

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Someone had built this shelter out of driftwood, making it the perfect spot to relax in the shade before biking back.

When the day was said and done, we had biked 10 miles. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything for ten miles…bike, swim or even walk….(actually, maybe that last one). Regardless, I’m so thrilled with how much opportunity there is to get out and stay active here. We biked ten miles and didn’t even realize the distance until we mapped out our route over some afternoon snacks. What a fantastic way to spend our day out in the radiant sunshine by the lake! What did you do today?

-elise

Heartbreak, not heartache

I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to actually write this post. Expose my vulnerabilities. Let the world see this side of me.

For this reason, I left dealing with a painful breakup out of my last post. Something that certainly added to the dizziness of my everyday, left me reeling, coasting through my days in a fog. But it certainly was a part of my experience, one that I should not attempt to expunge from my memory.

I will lay this out for you. I never in a billion years thought that I would ever fall for the person that I did. Barely a month to graduation, he pops up out of the blue and turns my life around. He was wrong for me in so many ways. A lot of history, bad habits, and friends that I didn’t like should have been reason enough to let this one go. But, he was so much more than that.

He was extremely sweet and nurturing, something that I hadn’t experienced in a while. I was always used to being the nurturer. He genuinely cared about making me happy, not the other way around. We’d do the things that I liked to do like walk the beach in the chilly spring air or go outside and just kick a soccer ball around, brews in hand. As I came to learn, his life is no where close to easy and yet, he still made me feel like the center of his attention. And his unconditional nurturing allowed me to experience the other side of what should be a two-way street…feeling what it’s like to be loved. I don’t know if he did, but I sure felt it. And that meant a lot. My infamous walls that kept out so many before him crumbled and a confident self emerged.

When we did break up or fall out or whatever it is people call these almost relationships these days, I ached. With every ounce of my being. I sobbed for days on end, even waking in the middle of the night from my dreams. It was a physically painful sort of ache and I couldn’t bear to be in the company of others for fear of witnessing a look of pity that would send me into a sobbing tailspin all over again.

A few days later, I heard from him. We were going to be friends. We’d still see each other as friends and our lives would go on. I clung to those words. I was exuberant, I hadn’t lost him entirely. It was as if the last few days of misery had vanished from memory and I was going about my days once again. Those who had seen me certainly sported looks of confusion, but didn’t say much for fear of me losing it in the way that I had before. No, all was hunky dory. I saw him a few more times and everything seemed (relatively) back to normal.

That is until he left for home for real. Gone was our communication and gone was our friendship. Poof.

This time, I was ready. I had prepared myself. I already knew the worst that it could be. I knew he was not right for me, at least not now with the current circumstances and habits. Things that I was not interested in changing my opinions on. This time, I was realizing that there wasn’t a future to mourn. There were no thoughts of “What if?” or “Maybe if I/we…” I knew and he knew that we weren’t forever. And that was completely okay. It didn’t mean that this time I wasn’t heartbroken, but it did mean I didn’t experience that painful heartache. Just a dull reminder in my chest, a passing throbbing. I still think about us, pretty much everyday. But mostly I miss our friendship. He showed me a new me, a me long hidden. He opened my eyes to new people, new places, new movies, new games, new thrills. I loved every second of our fleeting love affair..or, whatever it was. I only have fond memories. He helped me grow in so many ways. And I’m a better, more confident, more open person because of it.

The mess that is life after graduation

I think it’s time we talk about life after graduation. What a STRANGE time… It has been non-stop waves of happiness and confusion and nostalgia and sadness back to happiness and…you get the picture.

Let’s talk about the highs. The actual graduation! What a triumphant feeling that was. I felt spectacular in my brand new heels and my Honors cords and my mortar board that I’d decorated to read:

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.                                -Walt Disney”

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Walking down the aisle with my diploma in hand, my best friends greeted me with hugs and high fives, grinning to the point that the two of us would tear up a little. Sitting there was true triumphant bliss.

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Cut to us cheesing for photos and showing off our fancy leather-bound diplomas, all the while a sadness was creeping in and our smiles weren’t so wide. It was dawning on us that this journey that was SMC was about to come screeching to a halt as we had to leave that very day, leaving our beloved campus and our friends behind.

Suddenly I’m being invited on one of my roommate’s family vacations in the next week and all was well and good again. I could escape the looming reality for a little while longer. A few games of cribbage and a dip in the hot tub later and I was home.

But again, I was lucky and I was swept away, this time for two weeks in Scotland and Ireland, a family trip that I had soo been looking forward to! Traveling is such an uplifting adventure, in my opinion. I experience and learn so many new things, nearly always about myself. I had walked these streets a year before and I couldn’t think of any place that I’d would rather be in that moment. I was floating on cloud 9 sharing this country, its culture and the people with my family. (more on this later..it requires a post of its own I should think).

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It was not until three weeks after graduating that I laid eyes on the boxes and bins that had contained my college life that had been dumped in my room, untouched. They served as a grim and constant reminder that I didn’t really have a plan yet. I had no job, no phone calls or emails offering me an interview even, no connections to call upon in Boston, and I didn’t even know what to do with my free time now that I had it. I’d known only school and work for too long. I was feeling lost, moving through the days with little purpose or drive. On top of that I would be living at home which wouldn’t be too bad except that I found out that most of my home friends had moved away, often near their respective schools. And I missed them terribly already.

That very week that I got home, I was off again, this time to visit my second home back in VT. My friends welcomed me with open arms. They had begun their lives there three weeks prior and from the looks of it, were getting on quite well. They had recognized the potential of Burlington whereas I had overlooked it, yearning for the promise of Boston. But Boston was never really what I wanted, and I was realizing that the more that I visited. It was decided then and there that I was going to move back to Burlington, a place I had called home for four years. And it made total sense! Why I hadn’t seen it before is beyond me. The vast majority of my social and professional networks are based in BTV, I love the area for its community and small-city hustle and bustle of life, I love the promise of outdoor adventure and diverse scenery…why on earth had I thought that Boston was going to bring me that same experience? I called upon some contacts and quickly secured a few summer jobs, something to get me started. My once blackhole of a future materialized before me and I was steadfast in my decision.

With little notice, I told my family that I was moving to Burlington and that was that. It should come as no surprise that my surprise was not taken so well. It was surely a point of contention at first and did make me question my obviously split decision to uproot my life in Chelmsford and take Burlington by storm. But I knew in my heart that this was right for me. I could spend the summer getting my self together, emotionally, financially, and otherwise. It would be a time to experience being independent and allow me to get my footing in the adult world all while learning from my peers. I started my job and I searched for an apartment online, found several promising listings but ultimately chose one that best fit my budget and current needs.

I am happy to report that this has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. This move has me feeling empowered. I’m visiting my friends regularly, working the weekends at my favorite events ever (weddings!!) and gaining experience living out on my own. My roommate is sweet and we get along well. I live in the perfect location, the center of a triangle between my three closest friends here, get to go to the gym back at SMC as an alumni, am a short distance from the hubbub of Church Street, am still experiencing and learning all new things, get views of the lake and the mountains alike. I am again finding that feeling of bliss.

I cannot express the gratitude I feel for all of those who has supported me in this weird post-grad transition, and I cannot wait to see what this summer brings me.

-elise

Getting back to blogging

I cannot believe how long it’s been since I’ve last made a post. Last summer and my senior year were a complete whirlwind. In that time, I’ve been to every type of VT wedding and special event imaginable, met so many incredible people and shared meals that I will never forget, sent my sister off to her freshman year of college, traveled to Quebec with a good friend of mine for our October break, performed a piece choreographed by my freshman year roommate at Middlebury College at the Vermont College Dance Festival in November, was published in December in an issue of VOYA magazine for the research I did last summer, completed three internships that had me traveling all over Vermont working more events and leading a retreat for cancer survivors and their families, conducted research on mantra meditation for my Honors Capstone thesis that I completed this past April, was inducted into Psi Chi, Delta Epsilon Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa honors societies, and finally graduated college from SMC last week. What an incredible year. I cannot wait to see what adventures are in store for me next!

-elise

Wedding Wonder

This past weekend, I worked at my first ever wedding and needless to say it was a dream. I’ve always loved weddings – I watch enough TLC to know everything there is to know about wedding dresses, venues, decoration, bridesmaids and their dresses, so on and so forth – but this was much more than I ever expected.

First of all, the bride and groom were a delight to work with. Organized, kind, and best of all thankful, they were involved in every step of the process. They knew exactly what they wanted and were able to communicate that effectively which was a dream for us planners! Their vision was for a wedding in Vermont, with a ceremony out in a beautiful field and a reception inside a gorgeous barn, complete with flowers and beautiful decor. They ended up being married at the West Monitor Barn in Richmond, VT, a stunning venue that fit their vision perfectly.

To make this evening even more special, the couple added many unconventional details, like having local pie for dessert instead of cake, little bicycles on the groom’s and groomsmen’s ties, and a photobooth guestbook (which even we snuck into!). These details truly reflected the upbeat and colorful personalities of the bride and groom.

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Overall, the evening was beautiful. The tables were set gorgeously by Nectar and Root, food looked (and tasted!) delicious from Farmhouse Group Events, music that kept the night going was provided by Premier Entertainment & Events, and the stunning photography was taken by Amy Donohue Photography. I loved watching the guests dance the night away as it was obvious that they were all very close and loved the bride and groom very much. They sang together, held hands, and even lifted the bride and groom up in their chairs! Needless to say, it was an absolute joy to witness the love at this wedding.

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Even more special were the surprises for the bride and groom! The groom’s father surprised them with a room full of sparklers during his speech which looked simply magical and the groom’s mother surprised them with Ben & Jerry’s Catering. Seeing the looks on their faces for not one, but two surprises made everyone’s night. They couldn’t have been happier!

Needless to say, I am so happy to have been a part of the bride and groom’s big day and couldn’t be more pleased with how everything turned out! My internship for credit with Et Cetera Event Company may be coming to a close but I foresee much more time with Et Cetera in the near future!

-elise

Not-so-far-away future

I used to think that growing up was a lot more work than it was fun. Nowadays, I’m thinking that less and less, thanks to my event planning internship. Helping people get ready for the next chapter of their lives has made me think a lot about the next chapters in mine. I’m loving the work that I’m doing for my internship and am so excited that this experience has pointed me towards a career – a part of my future that was very foggy even just a few months ago.

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I love this so much!!

I knew that I wanted something a little un-traditional, something that kept me busy but wasn’t a structured 9-5, and was project-driven. This internship is everything that I wanted and more. I get to speak directly with clients, research aspects of an event, organize timelines and projects, contact vendors, design various products and website features, write blog posts, as well as facilitate flow during events…and I’m just the intern! I’m loving every aspect of my experience and I know that this is due to my excellent mentor…my boss.

My boss has worked hard to make sure that I get to experience different aspects of event coordination and practice taking on various roles to really get a feel for what it’s like to work in this industry and at this particular business. While the business is still young (just a year old this month!), I am getting a sense of what it’s like to work at a small business, particularly a start-up. Being few in numbers, I love how tight-knit the company is. We all have a strong understanding of each others’ strengths and are more efficient because of it. More importantly, however, when we play to our strengths, we are happier, too! We get to work on the things that we’re good at and that we like to do, which in turn helps us in our productivity and ultimate success! While this may be true in some large businesses, too, it is not necessarily the norm which is why I am very grateful for this small business experience to help me assess and develop my strengths. In addition, I get to learn about things like rent and budgeting, things I definitely wouldn’t be learning at a large established company. And this is what has gotten me thinking a lot about my not-so-far-away future.

Hearing a lot about the future of the company and what position I would be filling “when I’m hired post-grad,” I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what my future holds. If I really am hired, I’ll have to find an apartment in the area which is something I never planned on. I always thought I’d move back home to save some money and get a job near there but now, faced with this opportunity, I’m thinking about apartments in this area. While this is scary to do on my own, I am so thankful for all of the hours I’ve spent watching HGTV!!

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Tell me these studios aren’t beautiful…….ugh. I think I’m in love.

What are your best tips for apartment hunting?

In addition, I’ve been thinking a lot about budgeting. Apartment hunting is daunting in itself, never mind having to pay for it! I am thinking about developing a “Budget Binder” and have found some amazing inspirations on Pinterest like this one.

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Does this look like everything I’ll need? Check out my Pinterest profile at www.pinterest.com/egenereux/.

I’ve been good about my money but I could be better so this is another step into adulthood for me. If you have any tips about budgeting, keeping track of your finances, or just saving money in general, I’m all ears!

I think that’s it for now… I’ll keep you posted on my projects!

-elise

One chapter is ending, another one beginning

This week has been an absolute whirlwind. I’ve nearly completed my summer research, producing a stellar list of books for children and teens in after-school programs in Burlington. I’ve spent the summer interviewing staff members of these programs, local child psychologists and librarians to get a sense of what themes would be the most relevant and accessible to the children enrolled in these programs, and having identified those themes, worked on reading and selecting books that best fit this community. I’m wrapping up my research now and have had an incredible time this summer. My mentor was fantastic and guided me through every step of the process. As this chapter is closing, I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve produced and the relationships that I’ve established throughout the process.

Then just yesterday, my other mentor (my boss) surprised me and my coworker with something that will completely change the future of the company that I’m interning at. We’re keeping it a surprise until it’s completely official but we went ahead and celebrated anyway at Citizen Cider!

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Such a fun and exciting day – something I’m so happy to have been a part of! You never know what may happen when one chapter ends…another even more exciting chapter may be beginning! I’m so very grateful for all that is happening in my life!

-elise