In the past five days…

Let me recap the past five days of my life:

olivia leigh gaggi

I graduated college.

There were cupcakes.

I moved out of my college apartment.

olivia leigh gaggi

Hopped on a plane (on my 22nd birthday).

And arrived in Florence!

Needless to say it has been a BUSY five days!

I’m so happy to finally be in Italy though. I’ve been planning this trip for the past semester. While my dad will be in Florence for the next six weeks teaching a study abroad course I really wanted to see parts of Italy I haven’t been to before. I’ve been to Florence and Tuscany quite a few times. I lived here for four months when I was five years old and visited for six weeks at a time almost every summer I was in high school.

My itinerary:

  • Palermo, Sicily (6 days)
  • Milan (3 days)
  • Venice (3 days)
  • Back to Florence (6 days)
  • Herculaneum (1-2 days)

Then probably Barcelona and Madrid then back to Florida!

This is the lightest I’ve ever traveled anywhere in my entire life. Only one backpack for the whole trip! It’s going to be a very busy and interesting six weeks!

Things that make me happy right now:

  1. my fam
  2. Italy
  3. my cats
  4. tiramisu gelato
  5. color blocking

Love,
Liv

PS- If you want to see a few more pics that I’ve taken since getting to Italy you can click here…

Continue reading

Advertisements

What I Learned in College

For the past for years I’ve answered the same question countless times.

“So, you’re from Florida, how did you end up at Appalachian State?”

201111144618

Four years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to get out. I wanted to have the ‘going away to college’ experience. I wanted to try something new and live somewhere new. I wanted to grow up and become the person I wanted to be.  So many people I knew from high school (not all though), went to the same college, hang out with the same people, went to the same parties– Personally, I just don’t think you really have a chance to grow as a person and mature if you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself in new situations that may even feel uncomfortable at first.

Everything I had hoped I’d get out of college, I got. I definitely have had a lot of lessons in the past four years and looking back I got everything I wanted for out of college. It didn’t happen as easily and smoothly as I had imagined (nothing does) but I got there and I’m better for it.

At the end of each semester the seniors in my sorority stand in front of chapter and read a letter to the younger girls. I really liked mine. It was more of a list of things I wish I had known four years ago and lessons learned. Maybe I have regrets. I’m not sure, I’ve always believed you shouldn’t regret anything. But lately I think people who have regrets are good. They’re the people who look back on their life and thought about how they could’ve done better, how if they’re in a similar situation in the future they’ll do it right. As long as you don’t dwell on regrets and use them to give you direction in the future and be a better version of yourself I think they’re healthy and a good thing.

Anyways as cheesy as it is here is my list of things I wish I had known four years ago.  Continue reading

Independence

I always get urge to write in the middle of the night right as I’m falling asleep. I plan on getting up and writing it down first thing in the morning but as soon as my day gets going a million other things are more important to get done and writing gets pushed further and further back on my to do list. So here I am at 1:30 in the morning with class at 8 but I’m going to type this thought out anyways.

I like making hard decisions. I always have. The thought of doing something because it feels comfortable or easy makes me nauseous. Aside from a couple guys with sports scholarships, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person I know from my graduating high school class that went to a school that not only was out of state but also where I knew absolutely no one. I don’t even think I had ever visited Boone before when I made my decision to spend four years of my life here. Not to mention, I went to a school where if I check the weather during the winter and its between 30-40 degrees I think to myself, “that’s not that bad.”

Now that I’m nearing the end of my college career people keep asking me if I’m going to move back to Tampa or go to Charlotte or Raleigh or somewhere else where everyone goes in North Carolina. As much as I love Tampa and my wonderful friends back home I feel like it would be a cop out if I were just to move there and work. I think Charlotte or Raleigh would feel that way as well because now I know so many people who will probably be moving back there too.

I don’t know why I run from everything/everywhere I know. I can’t tell if this is a character flaw or a character strength.

And most of my friends will live a die in this zip code and it might be for me, but until I go how am I ever supposed to know?”
The Band Perry, Independence

Summertime

So I’ve been insanely busy with my internship cause I’m out of my mind and agreed to work until August 16th when I head back to Boone for school the 18th. So while everyone else has finished up their summer internships I’m still working on mine! Which is great because I’m learning a ton and meeting so many wonderful people.. I just wish I had scheduled in a little vacation time before I start my senior year of college! I still have no idea how my senior year is already here but that’s a whole other story!

Some other very exciting news in the Life of Liv is that I have another internship already lined up for this coming winter break with Daytime on News Channel 8! I had my interview with their lovely executive producer last Monday and I am very excited about this fabulous opportunity. I am so excited to learn more about the broadcasting aspect of communications careers!

I’m trying to fit in as much fun experiences as I can in my last couple of weeks in Florida as I can before I move back to the mountains so I’ve been extremely busy. Last Saturday I went snorkeling through Tropical Island Getaway’s with my lovely friend Samantha Whiting and had the time of our lives! I already knew about Tropical Island Getaway through one of the Family Fun tours I had been working on through my internship with Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater. I included it on my tour of South Pinellas county so I decided to give it a try myself!

The guides/captains were so much fun and they gave us a heads up on the best seats on the boat so we could get the best view of the dolphins who came and played and jumped behind us for part of the ride. The ferry was BYOB and they had extra coolers to keep your drinks and snacks reallyyy cold. Then we once we got to Egmont Key the snorkeling gear (and noodle floating devices) were included and we got to see all the cool marine life around the ruins of the Fort Dade, which was used in the Spanish American War.

After the snorkeling portion of the trip we went over to the island which was incredible. You don’t see beaches like that too often. Everything was very natural feeling.  The only thing missing was Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom from the Pirates movies!  We hiked around the old fort and saw the lighthouse which was built in 1858.  After our explorations then we went back and relaxed in the water with a couple noodles and brews.

There were private boats all pulled up and anchored right on shore.  If I ever move back to Florida for good: 1) I must live closer to the ocean and 2) I will have my own boat.

olivia leigh gaggi

After Saturdays sea adventure I went on a different kind adventure to Universal Studios. There was no way I was going back to North Carolina without seeing Hogwarts! I am a huge Harry Potter fan and had to see the new section of the park!

I think my favorite part of the day was going to Ollivanders wand shop. When you go to Ollivanders you can either wait in line and go in with a small group of other Muggles and have a chance at being picked by Ollivander himself to go through the whole process of finding the perfect wand for you or you can just skip ahead and just pick one yourself. I, of course, wanted the whole experience and luckily Ollivander picked ME out of everyone in our group to find the wand for me! Anyways the Ash wand picked me.. thats the same type of wand that Cedric Diggory had and it was also the same as Ron Weasley’s first wand.

It was such a fun day! I even tried fish and chips again. For those who don’t know me but I stopped eating seafood when I was nine years old because I ate too much fish and chips when we lived in Cambridge, England for a little over a month that year!

So anyways, I’m at my parents right now recovering from my wisdom teeth removal surgery and after going a little stir crazy the past couple days I decided to go run some errands around town with my mother.  We went and looked at the lot where they are going to be building their new house. It’s really beautiful and has a woods in the backyard which are going to be nice for barbecues and get togethers. Hopefully it’ll be done being built by the end of December!

Then we had to go run some errands in Temple Terrace (the part of town where we use to live.) I feel really bad because I kind of made my mom go and drive by our old house even though she didn’t want to and it looked terrible.  It was so depressing to drive by. The new owners were not taking care of it at ALL. There was crap all on the roof, the lawn needed to be mowed, they tore out some of the bushes so the yard looked bare and ugly, there were bouncy balls and toys all over the yard… The entire front of the neighborhood looked HORRIBLE because of the jerks that moved into our old house! The house I grew up was entirely TRASHED. It was beautiful when we sold it to them. My parents worked so hard to make it nice and they literally just killed the entire house and made the entire neighborhood look awful. I really hope that somehow the new owners of —— see this post and realize what assholes they are for killing an already beautiful home. I hope they realize that the entire neighborhood of Raintree Oaks probably thinks they’re douche bags for doing so.

Okay, well that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I’ll upload some pictures from one of the tours I’ve been working on later! Summer is almost over!

Love,
Liv

Words I Liv By:

“Do one thing thing that scares you everyday.”

What I mean by this is that everybody should challenge themselves daily. If you push yourself do something that you’re afraid of (that you know isn’t ridiculously stupid or crazy) you will no longer be scared of that one thing. You will gain confidence in yourself and have a better grasp on who you are as an individual.

I don’t know when I started saying this or where I got it from or if I even made it up myself (it sounds kind of like a Nike ad I think), but since I was about 16 years old I have used this phrase to give myself courage to do things that I find intimidating. From wearing crazy outfits and dyeing my hair pink in high school, to public speaking and all the way to deciding to moving almost 700 miles from the beaches of Florida to the mountains of North Carolina (where I knew basically no one) to start college. This phrase or saying has helped give me the courage to make some of the major decisions  in my life so far.

Although I do not graduate until next May, the closer that that day comes (and the longer that I stay in Florida this summer) I have come to realize that soon I will have to make another big decision and many more to follow after that. I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do with my life and where I’m going to try to start that life. I’ll have to make this decision and commit to it, just like I did when I chose to attend Appalachian State University. Even though my first year at App was rough I was able to stick through it and ended up learning so much about myself and grew so much from those experiences into the young woman I now am.

The problem with this decision is this: what I want for myself and what my mother wants for me do not match up.  I know my mother wants what is best for me, wants me to succeed and wants me to be happy but I also know that my mother wants me to stay here close to her and stay in Florida. Even though I have expressed a million different times and in a million different ways that even though I love Florida (and perhaps one day I will end up here ) that this is not where I want/need to be to start the next chapter of my life.

My mother claims she is not trying to guilt trip me or manipulate me in any way but I can tell she is doing what she can to change my mind about Florida (which is interesting since she hates Florida and constantly reminds everyone that the only reason she stayed in Tampa was because her mother guilt tripped and bribed her into doing so). She attempts to change my mind by asking me about I feel about living/working in St. Pete (literally, 45 minutes away from Tampa).  Or since my parents are in the process of looking for a new house she talks about it having to be big enough for my sister and I to visit, for me to bring my future husband and also somewhere safe for her future grand kids to play at on weekends (I’m 21 and I do not have a serious boyfriend  at the moment and neither does my 25 year old sister).  And of course,  she never fails to remind me that she would not be happy if I moved too far away to somewhere like Chicago, New York or DC (where my sister happens to live.. make sense?) because she would miss me too much.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love my mom so much. I am so grateful for her and everything she has done for me. We have a great relationship and I know I can count on her for anything and talk to her about almost anything but I feel trapped sometimes when I’m home.  I just know with every ounce in my body that if I decide to stay here after I graduate it will: 1) regret it for the rest of my life and  wonder what I would’ve become if I had attempted a life outside of my comfort zone and 2) Even if I stay here after I graduate with the intention of one day leaving I’ll end up getting wrapped up in a job or a relationship and wind up never leaving.

I love Florida. It’s where I was raised. It is comfortable and familiar but I want new and exciting. I believe that my life is in the beginning and moving back home will feel like it’s already halfway over. Yes, a new job in general will be new and exciting for a little while but it won’t be long until I’m bored of being in the same old, same old Florida.

So as much as it terrifies and scares me to start new in somewhere completely different and away from the family that I love and will miss it is something that has to be done.

I’ve done the beach and the small town so far… I’m thinking the city next. New York? Chicago? DC? London? I have dual-citizenship with Italy so anywhere in Europe is an option, although until I have get my Italian fluent I’ve only got my English speaking skills to guide me.

Love,
Liv

The Queen of Procrastination

I really am the worst when it comes to procrastinating. My brain always comes up with unnecessary yet interesting things to do/read/make instead of doing what I should be doing. I wanted to write in here in the beginning of this past week about Nicole ‘s (my roommate) brother’s race we went to last weekend, he’s a race car driver and I had never been to a race before, it was really fun! Yet now it’s Saturday and I still haven’t written in here.

See, I currently have three research papers along with regular assignments and extra credit work I need to get done. I made a personal goal for myself to tell myself the due dates are a week earlier than they actually are so that I have them finished a week early so I can make them perfect. So far I’ve gotten one paper done and have been “working” on the other two all week. I’ve gotten a little bit of research done for one of them. But I stayed in last night to work on them but I wound up reading stuff online and looking up PR jobs in England on monsters.co.uk and checking out apartments in London. Definitely not my homework. I always do that though, look up jobs and apartments in cool places I might want to live/work in a couple years. I also spent a lot of time downloading music.

Something else I did instead of working on my research papers was put together a whole internship journal for me to use this summer. I filled it with templates, examples, organizational sheets, tips for student interns, I even made up an organization profile for the place I’m interning at. It’s really great that I did that and I’m sure it’ll help me out this summer while I’m interning… but WHY did I do that for a couple hours INSTEAD of writing my paper that’s due in a couple weeks??? Ay yi yi…

Anyways, I think I’m going to skip our semi-formal tonight, I really don’t want to because I feel like I haven’t been to anything sorority related all semester and that I’m disappearing from the face of the Earth. But I really need to get this stuff done. Maybe after I nap I’ll head to the library (library on a Saturday night.. whaat?). I want one paper done by Tuesday and the other by Thursday. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to go out and be social and see my friends again. In the words of BP’s CEO Tony Hayward, “I’d like my life back!”

Good news: My (21st) birthday is only 36 days away & Vegas is only 35!
Love,
Liv

As you can see my calendar for April is disgustingly full (and that’s not even everything!) and I have so little motivation!

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”

As a college student I have the tendency to look at my never-ending “to do” list (I’m a list maniac) and feel incredibly overwhelmed. As do most of my friends, I’m sure. It probably doesn’t help that I’m blogging at the moment instead of studying for my three tests I have this week or my three upcoming research papers that I’m know are going to “suddenly” sneak up on me in couple of weeks when they’re due.

A few days ago I was looking at my list of everything I had yet to do and feeling at a complete loss at where to even begin (ADHD and long lists don’t mix well). Papers, tests, homework assignments, and projects have a tendency to pile up quickly. Lately, during the school week I’ve been noticing that most of the things I say or talk about are pretty negative. “I have so much to do.” “I haven’t slept in days.” “Is it summer yet?” or “When did college stop being fun and started being so difficult?” This is what most of my recent conversations with others have consisted of and I HATE it!

I’d like to think of myself as a usually upbeat, happy go lucky person. I’m usually the person who tries to see the silver lining on every cloud.

Yes, college can be stressful, hectic and downright depressing at times but we have to learn to give up that attitude, or at least try to. Everyone is entitled to a bad mood every now and then. We need to figure out a way to snap out of these moods. So that we can go back to living life and meeting our full potential (you always do better work when you’re in a good mood).

So here’s how I snapped out of my bad mood. I closed my lap top and my textbooks grabbed my pen and a pad of paper and I wrote down everything I could think of that makes me really, really happy. I know, it sounds like a pretty huge waste of your already small amount of time, but it worked!

I listed everything from the avocado cheeseburger at Chilli’s, to running at the beach during winter, to the Gasparilla Art Festival, to day-drinking at Klondike with my sorority sisters. I soon realized that I did not have enough time or enough space on the paper to list the many things in my life that make me truly happy. I also realized that the stress and lack of sleep I’m dealing with now will all eventually lead me to even more things that make me happy. Even just looking at the list and all the reasons I wrote, puts a smile on my face and ease on my mind.

So while it does suck at times, I’ll do my best to envision that brand new car I’m going to buy myself in a couple of years when I’m makin’ that monaayy in the real world.

Love,
Liv


Yep, my dream car is a pink Mini Cooper… except mine will be a convertible
.