Looking Back on 2016 #TBT

Every year around the New Year I get pretty emotional. As silly as just a singular date is marking the start of a new year, I like to take it pretty seriously. But this is the first year I am taking it a bit more seriously as I look back and see how much has changed for me in the past 365 days.

I started my year boarding a plane on January 3, 2016 to Florence. I was anxious, nervous, and had doubts of even getting on the plane. For me, doing things alone has always been a piece of cake, but abroad is different. You are thrown into a new life, in a new place, with a new language, and no one is there to tell you the “right” way to do it. The first 2 and a half weeks there I was lost and didn’t know what I got myself into. The thing is no one tells you about that part. The beginning part, where you don’t want to be alone and all you want to do is have someone make you feel like you’re home. But luckily one day it just clicked for me and I knew I was in the right place.

I learned a lot of things when I was abroad. I know everyone says they do, but for me I truly did. I learned that it’s okay to be fearful and uneasy in another country when other people aren’t. I learned that if you are someone who is a planner and always needs to have organization, that mentality isn’t going to cut it abroad. It’s okay to literally just see what happens and go with the flow. I learned that slowing down is the most important thing to do at our age especially in a city like Florence whose pace of life is ten times slower than here. I learned to not stress over the places I didn’t get to go, because I know I will get to go back.

But the most valuable and harsh thing I learned about abroad was that it is just a fantasyland. Those people you met, in that exact place you lived, at that exact time, will never happen again. If we try and mimic the same experiences when we get back to reality, it’s just not possible. Abroad is a memory and one we need to cherish forever for teaching us lessons and awesome things we didn’t know about ourselves. Or maybe even not so great things we didn’t know about ourselves. I think for me I have the hardest time with change. And once abroad turned into my life, going back to reality hit me harder than I ever expected.

I will never forget my professor telling me before I left for Florence to seriously just relax. He said the more I talked about abroad, the more I was  going to ruin the experience if I keep talking about what I will and won’t be able to accomplish there. He said to me, “Plan some trips and know you won’t do half of what you planned, do something really crazy that you wouldn’t normally do here in America and get yourself in some trouble, and find an awesome romance and know it will most likely come to an end.”

I noticed myself feeling different this past semester, as I felt the organized, structured part of me slowly diminishing, my stress fading away, and my constant looking into the future shift gears into the present. This could be such a bad thing for a lot of seniors in college getting ready for the next step, but for me it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was finally able to take my professors advice and learned how to act on a word that I never really new how to, relax.

Sometimes I look back at the beginning of 2016 and I wish I looked deeper into the meaning of all of these things then instead of now. I wish I laughed at things I cried about and was more aware of the silly situations that just don’t matter anymore. But then I remember that basic cliché of everything happens for a reason. I think every single day in life if I didn’t go there, do this, and act this way, I wouldn’t be where I was right now. Sometimes that makes me wish I could go back and change things, but then you remember that this is exactly how it’s supposed to be. For me it wasn’t abroad that led me to realize all of these things, but just a time and place for me to put everything together that I’ve always been trying to figure out.

Abroad is over, my first semester of senior year is over, and so is 2016. So now as I said I will take every lesson I learned and make 2017 an even better year. I have the funniest, most beautiful friends in the world, an awesome family, go the best school, and know I only have good things coming my way. So here’s to enjoying my last semester of college and slowly, just living in the moment. Thanks 2016. You were more than good to me, you were great.

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My UDAB Experience #TBT

During my sophomore year of college, I decided that instead of taking an average spring break trip, I wanted to do something different. I just transferred to the University of Delaware and didn’t know that many people yet, so I heard about a program called, UDAB. This program sends students to underprivileged neighborhoods within the U.S. to help with different causes. A few months later after three rounds of interviews, I was told I was going to to Leesburg, Florida to help rebuild their neighborhood. At first, I was upset that I didn’t get chosen to go on the New Orleans trip because I have never heard of Leesburg, Florida. I was a little more upset when I finally arrived to Florida and saw all of my friends on social media bathing in the sun in either Miami or  Mexico. I was regretting ever making the decision to go there and be on a trip with 50 other people I didn’t know.

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It only took 24 hours for me to change my whole mindset on the situation. It took a day of axing a few trees, painting houses, power washing, raking for 8 hours, and spending time with underprivileged students in their school for me to realize what an incredible decision I actually made.

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I spent one week in Leesburg, Florida with 50 strangers that became my great friends. We helped to rebuild the community together and built relationships with so many people that grew up there. I did a community service trip before in Costa Rica, but never in my own country. This made me realize how there are so many places within our own country that need our help and I am so happy that I was able to lend a hand. 

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Back Again for NYFW #TBT

This September, I interned for a public relations firm, Black Frame, during New York Fashion Week. I was able to work at multiple events and got to meet the designers as well. I attended Dion Lee, Opening Ceremony, Simon Miller, Edie Parker, and Rodarte. Three of the designers showed off their lines as fashion shows and two of them were unique presentations. From Rodarte’s fairytale like inspiration to Edie Parker’s magnificent variety of colorful clutches, each show and presentation was so individualistic and incredible to be apart of. Being an intern has taught me so many things, especially that it is the small details that count. I have participated in fashion week as an intern for multiple seasons and I now realize how valuable each of those experiences will be for me in the future. #TBT to my last internship experience ever! It was well worth it.

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My Summer at Us Weekly #TBT

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This summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern at Us Weekly. I held the title of Video Production Intern for 13 weeks and loved every second of it! I assisted content producers and editors with research, pre-production, planning, scheduling and post-production. I brainstormed and created interview questions and games for celebrities. I even produced Facebook Live videos on the Us Weekly Facebook Page and produced my own video for their website. I helped during shoots held in the office and field shoots as well. Wenner Media as a whole makes the internship experience both a great learning and hands-on experience.  We had weekly meetings with employees who have been at the company for a long period of time and they shared with us their career path. That was one of my favorite parts of the program. After doing many internships since 11th grade, this was definitely a terrific internship for me to end with before I enter the real world. Check out the video I produced this past summer below!

Video: Happy Birthday, Kris Jenner! 6 Times the Kardashian Kids Sassed Their Momager

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Badgley Mischka NYFW: Fall 2013 #TBT

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On February 12, 2013, I had my first experience of working at New York Fashion Week. The show that I worked at was Badgley Mischka. The moment I arrived backstage, I was so intrigued by the flood of makeup artists, press, and models. It was like nothing I have ever seen or experienced before. Everyone was there for one purpose and one purpose only. They wanted to put on a fantastic show that the crowd would never forget. Everything had so much detail put into it from the designs all the way to the production of the show. All of this hard work is put into a 10 minute presentation, and then it’s quickly all over. Being there for me wasn’t just a casual “day in the life” like it was for some other people. It was something that I knew that I would always remember. I have worked at NYFW since then, but this one was extra special. I felt like I had so much responsibility and felt so apart of something. I got the opportunity to even meet the designers, Mark and James, and take a photo with them. They are so brilliant and also beyond friendly. I even got the chance to speak with celebrities like Chloe Bridges from The Carrie Diaries, Olympic gymnast, Aly Raisman, and Kelly Bensimon from The Real Housewives of New York City. Watching the actual show itself truly unimaginable. #TBT to my first experience ever at Mercendes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

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Hunt for Hope Event #TBT

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Today, I am throwing it back to an event that I created called, Hunt for Hope. A few semesters ago, I was selected to be the lead ambassador at the University of Delaware for a company called, The Hunt. The Hunt was a fashion app that started in San Fransisco, California in 2013.  Our job was to promote this app at the University of Delaware by putting together events, starting social media accounts, creating contests, and taking trendy pictures of students on campus. Last spring, I worked with a team of ten girls to come up with an event that would benefit both our on campus program as well as a non-profit organization of our choice. That is when I decided that I wanted to reach out to Allyson Ahlstrom. Allyson is the creator of Threads for Teens, a non-profit organization that gives underprivileged teenage girls clothing that they can’t afford. This helps to empower these young women. I always saw Allyson Ahlstrom on numerous talk shows and thought that it would be an awesome idea if we paired up with her for our spring event. I also contacted LF Stores to see if they were willing to contribute as well. We planned on selling tickets to our fabulous fashion event so that the money of ticket sales would go right to Allyson’s organization. Hunt for Hope consisted of a red carpet, delicious food, an LF Stores  trunk show, and a live performer. Allyson also presented a speech and showed a video explaining her amazing organization. At the end of the event, LF Stores donated bags of their clothing to Threads for Teens. It was bittersweet when Hunt for Hope was finally over. I was beyond happy that it was such a success, but also couldn’t believe it was over after we put all of that hard work into it. Overall, I had a great time working on this event and being apart of something so great. #TBT to Hunt for Hope. It was an evening that will never be forgotten!

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Future’s Album Release Party #TBT

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This Thursday, I am throwing it back to remember the best party I have EVER attended. This past summer in NYC, I was interning for an event company. I worked at many events, but I knew this one would be different. When I found out that the party was to celebrate the rapper, Future’s new album, I was ecstatic. His album, DS2, was a hit from the moment it dropped that evening. I knew that this would be a party filled with celebrities, amazing music, and memories. I was very right. I thought that listening to Future’s new album, while watching him perform was the coolest part of my night..until he took a selfie with me. Now that was amazing. #TBT to a night that I will never forget!

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My Moment on E! News #TBT

On September 7, 2012, I had the opportunity of interning for Fashion’s Night Out in New York City. The event took place at Bloomingdales during New York Fashion Week. The company I was interning for was doing a meet and greet for Twilight’s, Kellan Lutz. Kellan was meeting all of his fans as I was assisting him. He was definitely one of the sweetest celebrities that I have ever encountered. As I was standing there, one of the employees said that they needed someone to sit in the bed with Kellan as he fed them cookies for the press. That was when they pointed to me. I did exactly what they told me in front of all of the cameras, fans, employees, and press surrounding me. It wasn’t until later that day that my friend called me and said, “Remi you’re on E! News!” I probably watched it over and over again for the next month. It was definitely one of my greatest #TBT moments and I will never forget it.

 

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