Last year, I rounded up my 15 favorite Instagram moments from 2015 with the intention of sharing some of the back story to them. I was prompted to do this in response to everyone talking about how fake Instagram is. And while I’m definitely guilty of taking twenty photos that all essentially look the same, making my friends wait for me to get a photo before they sip their coffee and so on, what I post on Instagram isn’t really for you if I’m being honest. It’s for me. Instagram is like an online scrapbook to create quick captures of moments I would otherwise forget. While these snaps definitely focus on the good and portray the glamorous sides of our lives, I look at them and they tell a different story. Below are Instagram’s roundup of my top nine best-performing photos (generated here), but below are my sixteen favorite moments and the little stories that go with them.
This photo was taken on one of my first days in Paris. Ob-La-Di was on the top of my list of places to visit within the first week because of its insane cuteness and allegedly amazing coffee. I went out exploring with two friends and we had NO idea where we were (which is so funny looking back now). It was a Sunday and we wandered through flea markets and through the quaint streets before stumbling upon this gem of a place. Having struggled with not knowing any French, I remember being SO relieved when we walked in since the barista was from New Mexico and spoke English. It felt like a little slice of home in a place very far away.
A friend of mine was visiting from DC and she had the hilarious idea of taking this photo. She semi hated me that visit because I made her walk over 20 miles in two days… oops! But I had such a great time showing her around what I had newly claimed as my city. Not to mention that while we were taking this photo, so many people asked to borrow our baguette to recreate it- ha!!
For this photo, another friend of mine was visiting me in Paris! This time it was my roommate from freshman year. She ended up transferring schools and now lives in LA but it’s a really fun friendship because we always make an effort to see each other when we can despite not talking all the time. We had such a great visit, especially here at one of my favorite spots for coffee in Paris, Le Peloton.
One of my best friends, Susanna, and I traveled all throughout France, Italy and Hungary together for about ten days and there are countless memories from that trip, as you can imagine! I love this photo because it brings me right back to this incredible conversation my friend and I had. We ate gelato and found this hidden canal and just chatted about literally everything as the sun set and countless gondolas went by. You know those moments where you’re just 100% content? This is what this picture was for me.
So to be honest, S and I did not have the best time in Rome (more to come on that once the guide is up). But basically, we were with another person who just spoiled it for us. Eventually on our first full day, S and I split up from the other girl to actually do the things we wanted to do (see the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, etc). We were so elated to be free from this person holding us back and we thought we would celebrate with gelato (naturally) and stumbled into La Romana aka God’s gift to this Earth. We still talk about this gelato spot regularly. It was without a doubt the best food experience I have ever had in my life. So creamy, so good, so much happiness from this pic.
One of the things I absolutely knew I wanted to do while studying in Paris was visit the Veuve Clicquot champagne cave in the Champagne region of France. Despite the slight difficulty in getting there, Susanna and I made the trek out. As I had a newfound love for champagne, I was so excited to hear about how it’s made and the history… so imagine my shock when we arrived to find out that I accidentally booked the tour in French. It was a slight bummer that we didn’t really learn anything, but it was still so cool to be there and check it off my bucket list.
I took this while showing my grandparents around the pyramid by the Louvre. They visited me while I was in Paris, which is an experience that I will remember forever. From being their tour guide to listening to their stories of being there in the 60s, 80s and 90s, it was incredible to learn from each other. We created many lifelong memories that I will cherish forever.
This was one of my favorite nights in my whole time abroad. There’s just something about being in good company, munching (and drinking) yummy things and taking in beautiful scenery. This night was that and more. We were surrounded by Parisians of all ages and the language that filled the silence was so surreal since I knew I was leaving soon. I found that abroad I had many moments that were simple, yet so joyful. And this was one of them.
This photo was taken on one of my last days in Paris. Susanna and I went to the Eiffel Tower with another friend of ours in the hopes that we could get a picture of us popping bottles of champagne in front of the Eiffel Tower (gotta get that insta right?). The day ended up being really fun (not to mention yummy!) since we ended up trying all of the French desserts we had neglected to try. It was a surreal moment and my last at the Eiffel Tower.
Every time I’m in California I always want to go on a hike (either to the Hollywood sign or one with ocean views). This time, my brother and sister and I decided to go on one. But we didn’t plan it out too well and ended up going on this super dangerous backroad through the “mountains” of Malibu. My sister almost got sick, I felt like we were gonna die and it was kind of a mess. But since my brother and I always blast music (since our tastes are pretty much identical), it ended up being really fun. We eventually ended up just going to the beach and hanging out which is where this photo was taken. No matter what we did, I loved having that time with my brother and sister.
This photo was taken when I was reunited with my best friend in Portland. I had been itching to go to Tea Bar since I had found it on Instagram way before it opened and LOVED the whole idea of it (I mean their whole Instagram marketing strategy is on point). So it was great to see it in all its glory and start off the summer I spent in Portland. My best friend and I sat there for hours before moving our tea convo to cocktail time.
The story behind this photo is so funny to me because it looks so peaceful and serene when in reality I was experiencing MADNESS. I had headed to this coffee shop because I thought I was going to love it when in reality I got there and I hated it. Strike one. Once I was there, I got a call from my roommate which made me nervous because at the time we were desperately searching for a place to live. I took the call outside since it was quiet inside and it started pouring. Strike two. To make matters worse, she was calling because we basically figured out that we had ten days to find somewhere to live in DC. She couldn’t help too much because she was working a ton. I was in Portland. And our third roommate (who wasn’t fully committed) was in Europe. Sound stressful? It was. Strike three. It’s so funny to look back at this because it ended up working out perfectly, but at the time it was not looking that way! (But I love the way this photo came out!)
I had been wanting to go to The Butcher’s Daughter after seeing it all over Instagram and so when I visited NYC in August I knew that was the time. I love this photo because it reminds me of when I met up with my best friend in Portland’s best friend from college (confused yet?) who was an ANGEL. She picked me up from the bus stop where I came in and taught me how to use the subway and indulged me in all of my yearnings to go to the trendy NYC spots I had been wanting to try. We sat here for hours, munching on yummy (vegan) items and chatting before making our way to the best mocha I’ve ever had in my life at Toby’s.
This photo was taken as I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with one of my other best friends who moved to New York this year. I was there visiting for her birthday and that day we decided to do a fusion of what she wanted (since it was her birthday) and what I wanted since I was there visiting. We started with a boozy brunch and then ended up walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and then hanging out in Brooklyn for a bit before taking the ferry back towards her house. I had always wanted to walk across the bridge and it was so cool to finally check that off my list. It was such a fun day with great company and seeing this photo will always remind me of that… even if we were hungover as heck.
If there are two sure things I love in life it’s cats and coffee. So this fusion of the two was a very exciting discovery for me! I was super bummed when one of my roommates broke the news to me that a cat was not in our housing future, but since this place is dangerously close to me, I was 70% okay with not getting a cat.
This photo was taken on my last day interning with Meg Biram. I had such a great semester interning for her and learned so much. It was quite a bittersweet day that started with a boozy lunch at Cafe Bonaparte and ended with her dropping me off and me practically crying while saying goodbye to her dog. She was such a fun person to work for and I love this photo as it totally reminds me of my time with her.
I would love to see your top 16 favorites! Post a photo with a link and the hashtag #mytop16of2016 because while a picture is worth 1,000 words, sometimes the real story gets lost.