2011 In Review: Passport Stamps, Graduation, and Embarking Into Big Girl World

by Bailey Powell

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Ah, 2011. What an incredibly eventful, gone-in-a-blink-of-an-eye year you were, gracing us with what seems like a lot less than twelve months.

One year ago, I was preparing to embark on my greatest act of independence in all of my 22 years: studying abroad. As coats, tights, leggings, scarves, long sleeves, boots, and LBDs created a monotone mountain waiting to be packed in the center of my bedroom I could not have fathomed how quickly not only the semester would pass, but the year itself.

I moved and grew accustomed to a new country and culture and made friends from all over the world, some of them of the lifetime persuasion.

I danced all night at Ministry of Sound. Heels in hand I witnessed London in a thick mist at dawn, giving a passing glance to Big Ben while crossing the Thames.

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I rode a train through the chunnel to Paris where every ounce of romantic hype was not only met but surpassed. I made myself ill on macaroons, gazed at the sparkling Eiffel Tower, gaped at Versailles, the Louvre, and Catacombs, and sipped espresso at a Parisian flea market. I skipped along the Seine, tip-toed along elevated surfaces, and tried escargot.

I marveled at the legendary party that is St. Patricks Day in Dublin, ran around in an obnoxious green boa, and sipped on a pint of “the black stuff” at the Guinness Brewery.

I was pleasantly surprised by Amsterdam’s beautiful canals, saw the world’s most narrow home at one meter wide, and was moved and deeply saddened by Anne Frank’s claustrophobic hiding place.

Cruisin' around the London Eye at dusk.

With touristic intentions I ventured into London alone, taking a spin on the biggest ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere and tucking into more than a few full English fries. I daydreamed about ancient London Town while touring Shakespeare’s Globe, Westminster Abbey, and the Bloody Tower, wishing I could have been a fly on the wall during QEI’s reign.

I saw a dear military friend off to Alaska by way of the River Walk in San Antonio. After hours of tedious research, brainstorming, note-taking, and general contemplation this blog was born and with 66 posts has seen over 11,000 visitors (I love you guys!). My entire family vacationed for the first time in five years in Florida. I had a dream internship at D Magazine during the fall where I was privileged to interview the likes of Ron Corning, Martha Stewart, and Jay Godfrey. I wrote whimsical, girly blog posts about shoes and spas, handled clothes and jewelry that cost more than my car whilst assisting on photo shoots, and  saw an intimate Elie Tahari fashion show emceed by Ken Downing.

Me and my brothers on graduation day.

Photo by Darac Favre

After five and a half trying years of college, December brought my graduation day. Glittery shoes were worn, dabs of shimmery makeup were applied, and lots of laughs were shared as my friend Liz and I made a spectacle of ourselves onstage. Unforgettable parties were had and I was showered with hugs, air kisses, encouraging words, and gracious gifts.

My entire family was together again for the holidays and well-thought-out gifts were exchanged, delicious fare was eaten, festive drinks were poured, and matching pajamas were worn. New Year’s Eve saw me in Austin, surrounded by friends at a party that felt like a fun house. Right before midnight a man deeming himself “The Champagne Fairy” came bearing gifts, bubbly and sparklers at the ready.

My resume, network, and blog grew. Hundreds of letters and notes were written and dropped in the mail, containing happy surprises and uplifting contents. Contacts were made and elbows were rubbed. The natural ebb and flow of human relationships took it’s toll and friends were both made and lost.

For me, I feel like 2011 was a massive preparation for 2012. International experiences were had and my passport was stamped. The corporate world was entered as I started my internship, priming me for post-graduation life. Now that the relaxing holidays have come to a close and the New Year is officially in gear, things are heating up. I can feel that big things are going to happen. I’ve gotten my diploma, made contacts, and dates have been set. My flight to New York City is booked for February 7th, and with a metallic planner in hand, a stack of fresh resumes, and one particularly exciting lead I have high hopes of returning to Texas to simply pack.

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My Transcribed Mood Board for 2012:

More color. Opportunities. Flashy nights and smile-filled days. Day dreaming about Paris. Jogs in Central Park. Holding hands with new friends. More selflessness, giving, and volunteering. More letters and less email. Lattes on the run. Late nights and long days. Hard work. Jet-setting. Schmoozing, air kissing, and lots of lipstick. Sky-high heels. The evaporation of the words “can’t” and “don’t”. Girly lunches. Feathers. MetroCards. Vegan dishes. Jaunts at museums. Too much perfume. Oversized bags and sparkly clutches. Experimental dressing. Hugging more. Vagabond friends that come with gifts of inspiration. Sincere, kind words. Dogs. Rooftops. The end of tardiness. More thankfulness, reflection, and time talking to God. Forever seeing the cup as half full. 

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What do you foresee happening in 2012? Make this the year your resolutions aren’t a joke. Lack of discipline yields an unsatisfactory life, so make tracks in the direction of positive change! Don’t allow yourself or others to discourage you. Envision what you want and go for it.

Loyally,