happy (late) new year! 2014 in review

Happy Freakin New Year, ya filthy animals! Yeah yeah sure, I’m about a month late… sue me. Or rather, don’t, because I’m piss poor.
But, boo ya grandpa! 2014 was a doozy. I can’t remember the last time I completely dominated anything quite like I did with these last 365 days (except besides the regular bag of sour patch kids and Netflix marathons).
Oh 2014, how did I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I interned with my university’s basketball team as their Nike Social Media intern. Basically, I was in charge of their social media presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As their intern, I witnessed two of the best wins in my entire life: beating BYU in triple overtime and defeating Gonzaga for the first time in 20 years on our home court (not to mention, one of our players trending on Twitter!).


The summer of 2013, I interned for a fashion PR firm in the heart of Midtown Manhattan (read all about my internship and summer in the city). Since, I’ve been able to return twice to work during fashion week – once in September, and once in February. Among the shows that I worked were Trina Turk (top left) and Clover Canyon (bottom right), plus Kenneth Cole, Nanette Lepore, and Cynthia Rowley.


Spring in Portland can be either the worst or the best of times… and this year gave us a few blessed and rare weeks of sunshine in March. With the cherry blossoms in full force, I had my first entire day of drinking when myself and a couple of best friends, Allie and Aine, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Portland. Spring Break was just a trip home to spend with my family and furry brother and sisters (Cleo, my younger brother’s dog, pictured here!).

There are not enough words to describe how amazing the month of April was. I’ve haven’t necessarily been a fan of spring in the past, but consider me a convert – April is my JAM. I mean, how can it not be when there’s puppies, pub crawls, prospective students, and pretty sunsets? I worked in admissions as a Student Ambassador for UP, and we had our biggest event of the year, Weekend on the Bluff, where we invite all prospective students to spend a weekend on campus. The students are pumped, us ambassadors are pumped, and basically it’s the most fun you can ever have in a weekend if you love spewing awesome word vomit about your school and your four years there.For the bi-annual pub crawl, groups almost always pick themes to go off of, and for us, it was Beerio Cart, AKA Mario Cart characters brought to life (shoutout to Sarah for the kick ass idea!) We each had three balloons, and whoever popped our balloon had to buy us a drink. The best part? Balloons pop LOUD, so the culprit couldn’t escape without everyone noticing who did it. (Pictured: Sarah as Yoshi, Kelsey as Luigi, Slaine as Princess Daisy, Natalie as Princess Peach, me as Mario/a, and Mitch as Diddy Kong.)As for the pretty sunset? Taken in the San Juan Islands with my family for Easter. If you ever wanted to vacation in Washington but still wanted a beachy feeling, get out there. It’s the most gorgeous place you could ever imagine. Boating, crabbing, fishing, general beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Trust me.


And then came May. Still no complaints. Except for the whole leaving-behind-your-home-for-the-past-four-years part. I can say with my entire being that I will never love anything more than I loved my time at University of Portland. The best decision I ever made was deciding to go there – and completely immersing myself into the culture. Graduation was bittersweet, but it was time.A group of four friends and I went to Hawaii to celebrate this rite of passage, and it was the most perfect way to chill out to the max before a busy summer, and a parting of ways with everyone. But, alas, it wouldn’t be a real trip if I didn’t lose anything…… like my wallet. So upon my return to the mainland, not only did I have to get my wisdom teeth out, but I had to get a new driver’s license, the day after my surgery. I would have been upset, except I was too ridiculous looking to be angry.

The month of June brought an entirely different adventure. I heard from the amazing company Bold Earth and was informed I would be leading teen international trips in Peru all summer with a co-leader. But before I was even shipped to South America, I went first to Colorado for training with the other Bold Earth leaders. Talk about the best week of my life – surrounded by 50 people who are equally (if not more) jacked on life than I am.



Then came the Peruvian adventure. Seven weeks abroad in South America with 20 of the silliest, most awkward, clever, and down-to-earth high schoolers you could ever imagine (plus the best co-leader a gal could ask for). From the depths of the Amazonian jungle, to the coast of Cerro Azul, from the urban streets of Cusco to the rural festivals of Lake Titicaca, the mountains of the Andes to the ruins of Machu Picchu, the beauty and the depth of the incredible country of Peru are infinite. I experienced both the hardest days of my life and the best, and I wouldn’t trade one day in the US with full access to internet, hot water, and Sour Patch Kids for even one cup of coca tea.


But the adventure had to come to an end, and before I knew it, I was back in the grand ol’ US of A. It ain’t so bad when you have a dog as cute as Juice to greet you when you return. I had a grand total of four days to pack my entire life up into a series of boxes and ship them to the least – I mean east – coast, and start an entirely new and different adventure: grad school at Sacred Heart University. Of course, you can’t be this close to so many Ivy League schools without a nice jaunt up to see them for yourself – as Slaine and I did, realizing that Yale is actually Hogwarts in real life. Although the highlight had to be seeing my own hometown, Yakima, Washington apples in the local Costco here in Connecticut. Apple Capitol of the World, what’s up!


September brought new beginnings galore. New friendships (fellow grad student and I Taci got to see the Brasilian National Team play in New Jersey!), new career moves (I started my internship in the Olympics department at NBC Sports), new seasons (hellooooo, Autumn!), and new family members (WE GOT KITTY CATS!). Not to mention, celebrating another year being lived. 22 was the most fantastic year yet – and 23 was ushered in pretty well.

Sometimes it’s difficult to find the words in terrible situations. Other times, the words flow freely, as if they have a life of their own. Both happened for me when the video of Ray Rice physically assaulting his then-fiance, Janay, was released, and the almost non-existent punishment until then. At first – my rage couldn’t really allow me to write, let alone even think in full sentences. Eventually, I found the words I was looking for. I started on Twitter with a few tweets and my own post here on this blog, and then The HBIC Project reached out to me to write a full piece on the issue of domestic violence, and the idea that strong women can’t be victims.
Other October happenings: I color commentated my first game (men’s soccer!), walked around stalking fall’s beautiful colors, and participated in Ride Ataxia Philidelphia with my good friend Sam Bridgeman, an FA survivor and resident bad ass. (See my feature on him here, and find out more about Friedreich’s Ataxia here!)
Joyful reunions and make-your-stomach-rumble good food were the epitome of November. I was able to fly into Portland for Thanksgiving, reuniting with my alma mater and my favorite people in the entire world (Go Pilots!), seeing best friends I hadn’t seen in what felt like years. I jaunted around the city like I was a fish back in water: with ease and exhilaration. I stuffed fantastic food down my throat (like this biscuit on display, from Pine State Biscuits on Alberta), and I gazed longingly at one of my favorite places on University of Portland‘s campus, Merlo Field.
Upon return to the Northeast, I snuggled with my ever-growing kittens, Russell and Wilson, and started a new endeavor: a weekly sports talk show online! Alongside Slaine and Luke, we launched Pioneer Sports Report in hopes of getting experience and putting our mad awesome skills out there.
And then, all at once, it was December. That Dr. Seuss quote could not have been more applicable if I tried. We had our first snowfall of the season in Connecticut (which I got way too overly excited about, especially thinking about all the snow that’s buried us these past couple weeks with Winter Storm Juno and Linus), I went bridesmaid dress shopping with my best friend V for her wedding, finished the first semester of my NBC internship, and experienced summer in the middle of winter when I returned home to Yakima.
2014, you kicked ass.
2015, you have rather large shoes (currently, snow shoes) to fill.
O N W A R D !
(Want to follow along in all my adventures? Follow me on instagram!)

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Julia Jean Kennedy

Julia Jean Kennedy

Preferring basketball over barbies, travel over tutus, and almost any chatter that could somehow relate back to Harry Potter, Julia is always game for a beer and an impromptu booking of a ticket to a game, country, or even the latest Fast and Furious movie. Here, find random thoughts, tidbits about trips, and occasionally Seattle Seahawks propaganda.

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