Liv Learns: Post College

It’s been a hot minute since I updated this thing so I thought I’d catch everyone up with five things I learned about myself since my last entry.

    1. I can go somewhere completely foreign on my own. Travelling on my own showed me how much I was capable of. Researching destinations, planning hostels, transportation basically everything is just the first half of going on a trip like that. Once you head out solo is you learn that, once you open your mind to opportunities you can accomplish anything.

      olivia leigh gaggi

    2. I can run. While I’ve always been into working out and fitness I absolutely despised running. At the gym, I’d sprint for about five minutes at a time, go do something else, then sprint again. Coming home after Europe and graduation was going to be the first time in my life that I didn’t have a gym membership. That, plus the fact that I decided to grow out of my asthma this past summer, is what motivated me to learn to love running! Since, I’ve done a 5k, 10k and next month I’ll be running in a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot with my sister!
    3. I can kinda cook. Before I got my job, my life this summer consisted of these things: Instagram, running, Pinterest and catching up with old friends. But, mostly Pinterest. Therefore I spent a lot of time looking at food and recipes. Before this summer the only things I could make were strawberry pizza and tortellini soup. Thanks to the lovely invention of Pinterest I’ve now made cookies from scratch! And these interesting avocado chocolate chip pancakes! 
    4. I can get a job! After what felt like months and months of hunting for a job and feeling like I’d forever be living at home with my parents, I found a perfect one for me! Now, if only finding the perfect boyfriend were that easy.
    5. It’s possible to have a new beginning in an old place. If you had asked me six months ago where I’d be right now I would’ve said, “anywhere but Tampa.” Heck, if you had asked me four years ago I’d probably say the same thing. I changed my mind. I realized that my hometown is actually a pretty good place to be. We’ve got the best beaches nearby, amazing sunsets and plenty of interesting people to be entertained by. It’s all about perspective and how you see a place or situation.  Returning home having graduated college and having grown into who you are is a totally different situation then when you were 17. Like you would anywhere else, you’ll get a job, meet new people and have the experiences you want to have. You just have to go out looking for them.

Love,
Liv

PS- I also learned how to do a top bun! Wha wha!

And I Did It All in Heels

In one month I traveled around Italy, Sicily, Croatia and Spain. I saw brand new places had some of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned more than I had ever anticipated on this trip.

Beautiful seasides, Greek temples, cathedrals, art and culture, pizza and cannollis, are all fantastic but the best experiences I had were thanks to the many people I met along the way. Whether it was someone in my hostel, a stranger attempting to help me when they didn’t speak any English, locals who invited me to sit with them at dinner when they saw me eating solo, or an entertaining tour guide. Above all what made my trip unique were the people I met in this past month. People from all over the globe that even if I never see them again I hope I never forget them and their stories.

Before I left my friends asked me if I was scared or nervous. At the time I was too busy finishing up college to let it register but I honestly thought it would hit me once I was on my own and I would be scared. Although I had my moments where I was scared (cough cough Palermo) for the most part I was so busy enjoying every ounce of my experience that I didn’t have time to worry. Like someone in my last hostel said, “just because you’re alone it doesn’t make you lonely.”

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.

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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…

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Daily Gratitude

Early in the day I’ve been trying to make a list of things I’m grateful for currently in my life. When I start off my day by making a gratitude list (either written down or just mental) it can change my outlook to my whole day!

Before I had a chance this morning to create my gratitude list I unfortunately got into an argument with a close family member. When something negative happens in our days its even more important to combat the negativity by thinking of something positive- and the more the better!

The more you are in a negative mood the more likely something negative is going to happen. The same thing if something positive is going in your life. For example, I’ve yet to make the list and two women just cut in front of me at Panera. This normally wouldn’t bother me but because I’m already annoyed I started thinking negative thoughts about these women that I don’t know and that’s just bad karma and nobody wants that.

Here’s my list!

Today I am grateful:

  • that I got the chance to visit my sister this weekend in Washington, DC. Not only did I have a really fun time going to dinner and drinks with her and her friends but we got we went to a really interesting exhibit at the Artisphere in Arlington that was showing photographs that the Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo took during her lifetime.
  • I am also grateful that I had the opportunity to walk around downtown DC all day Friday, while my sister was working, dropping off my resume and introducing myself at different public relations firms- hopefully something will lead to a job opportunity when I graduate.
  • I’m grateful for my sweet friend Alli, who watched my cat, Prince Louis, while I was away!
  • I’m SO grateful for the people I’ve met through my past internship who have been helping me in my hunt for a job by introducing me to their contacts in different cities that I hope to find work in!
  • for my MyPanera card which I was able to get a FREE carrot cupcake this morning!
  • that I was able to find a coupon for $20 off my haircut at a really nice salon in Tampa for when I’m home next weekend! (I REALLY need a cut!)

So that was my list today! I’m not feeling 100% back to my normal chipper self but I am feeling better and I’m ready to take on my day!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Love,
Liv

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.

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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

Home is where the heart is?

Andrew: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew: You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”  – Garden State

So lately, this quote has been continually popping up in my thoughts… Continue reading