If you're reading this, you probably know very little about our friendship, which is the very foundation of Penny & Dash. When we decided to make this blog, we really wanted it to be a reflection of our growth as individuals but also as friends, and we thought it would be fun to share a few pictures and stories throughout the past 8 years of our sisterhood. Honestly, some of these pictures made us cringe as we reminisced many of the memories of high school together, but it mostly made us laugh incessantly. Looking back on these pictures made us realize how much of life we have actually experienced together, and how much we have changed since meeting each other. We know each other more than we do ourselves sometimes, and it's so comforting to have a best friend who is always there to borrow clothes from (having same height and shoe size makes life easier), get a brutally honest opinion from, or go to a Taylor Swift concert with.
We're telling some of our favorite stories of our friendship, and going back and forth on narrating them based on whose name is in the parentheses (). Also as a side note, these are all photos taken from Facebook or from our personal archives and no alterations have been made, so yes, some of these filters are horrific. hahaha. It's also quite interesting to follow the journey of the improvement of cell phone camera quality throughout the years!
We hope you enjoy since we most definitely did while making this ;)
September 2008 - 2009: The Beginning (Mel)
Although we went to the same elementary and middle school, we always ran in different friend groups and did not actually become friends until freshman year. The first day of high school was filled with the expected anxiety and excitement. I was having a pretty good day... until it was lunch time. All of my middle school friends had lunch at a different period than me and I remember desperately scanning the cafeteria for a familiar face. Although Jess and I never actually spoke before, I approached her and asked if I can join her and her friends for lunch. We don't remember what we talked about that first day, but I guess it was a pretty good conversation because before I knew it, she became not only my lunch buddy, but also my gym buddy, my shoulder to cry on, make-up guru, and basically the single most important person in my life (aside from family of course!).
About this photo - Picnik was a strong trend in 2008 - 2009... it was pretty much impossible to find a picture from that year that was not Picnik'ed. Also, we had the same hideous green Abercrombie zip-up and we were so proud of ourselves for twinning that we wore it all.the.time. One of us has made a joke that we would only stay friends 'til 2010, but mostly because it rhymed. I guess it stuck and we made this as a reminder. We're pretty proud of ourselves for making it all the way to 2016!
We still had lockers in high school, and I remember Jess was always jealous of me for having a top locker since she had to crouch down to reach hers. Wow, these 4 years actually flew by incredibly quickly, and everything almost seems like a blur.
About this photo - I always went over to Jess' locker whenever we had time before homeroom or at the end of the day after we got our backpacks and stuff to head home. Since our busses usually got to school 20-30 minutes before homeroom, we normally had time to see each other before our first period. On this day, we chilled in front of her locker and snapped this picture just a little after the bell rang and before we ran off to our respective homerooms.
2009 - 2010: Sophomore Year (Jess)
Our friendship always remained solid in high school, but to be completely honest, 2009 to 2010 are a bit blurry. We couldn't really drive on our own yet, so we hung out more at each others' houses or had our parents drop us off at the mall.
About this photo - We were celebrating a friend's birthday and all stayed overnight in a hotel somewhere in Jersey. Of course, we somehow had matching swim suit coverups, and this picture reminded us how we always liked twinning back in the day.
About this photo- Halloween was always one of our favorite holidays since it was the only time of year where we not only got to dress up in costumes, but also got loads of free candy. I dressed up as a ladybug and Mel was a witch that year. We met up after school at her house and spent the evening trick or treating around my neighborhood. Fun fact - my absolute favorite candy is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and I can eat them for days.
2010 - 2011: The End of an Era (Mel)
Junior Year was filled with anxiety because we spent so much time prepping for SATs (we took the same prep course, of course), applying to college, and worrying about the future. It was stressful for sure, but we still found time to hang out and laugh in between.
About this photo - This picture was taken in Jess' backyard over the summer! She had a few friends over, and we just hung out and ate all afternoon. I remember us going out to the backyard and spraying everyone with hoses to cool off!
2011 - 2012: End of our High School Chapter (Mel)
High school felt like eternity in a way, since all we'd known was the routine of school and our after-school jobs. Senior year was particularly fun since we finally didn't have to worry about SATs anymore, we knew which colleges we were going to, and of course, there was Prom! We were also driving partners for the year, so we alternated picking each other up before and after school to go home.
About this photo - This was snapped the night of our senior year homecoming dance by Jess' mom. I usually never attended school functions, but since I just started dating my boyfriend back then, I put on my strappiest heels and the only body-con skirt in my closet and went to the dance. Honestly, the best part of that night was going over Jess's house and getting ready together (she always did my make-up for me since I didn't start wearing makeup on a daily basis until I was a sophomore in college).
About this photo (Jess) - Mel and I spent a lot of our last two years of high school working at a tutoring center a few times a week. Our shifts sometimes overlapped, and we grew really close to a lot of the kids during our time there. They ranged from 5-10 years old, and we would always hope for the behaved children to be there when we were working. But as much as we loved and hated being there, we were so excited to finally go off to college. I went out-of-state for my school while Mel stayed close to home. One day after school, a student brought in a replica doll of the world's cutest dog, Boo! Naturally, we posed with him since we love animals (I mean, we named this blog after ours...) I actually had Dasher at this time but Mel didn't get Penny for another few years.
2012 - 2013: College Year 1 (Jess)
I spent most of my time in college in a different state, and only came home for major holidays or breaks. I probably saw Mel only 2-3 times a year because I even spent my summers back on my college campus. We talked to each other on Facebook or texted every so often, but it was always so nice to come back home for a bit and debrief about life in person.
About this photo - We have been fans of Taylor Swift since her Fearless album, but surprisingly never made it out to any of her concerts until the Red Tour. 'Til this day, we still regret not buying the tickets for her Speak Now Tour since Speak Now is probably our favorite album of hers (1989 comes in at a close second). You can imagine how just how excited we were to finally see our favorite artist perform live. We knew every single word to every song on the Red album and sang along with Taylor for the entire show until we basically lost our voices. It was then that we made a pact to continue to go to every single tour Taylor plays in the future and hopefully one day even bring along our own kids as well!
2013 - 2014: Sophomore Year, Again (Jess)
About this photo - My sister took this picture of us at my house (probably during Thanksgiving break). It was your typical catch up about boys, life, and school. Looking at this makes me really excited for sweater weather to come around.
2014 - 2015: Blogging Dreams (Mel)
2014 to 2015 was probably one of the biggest, most important and impactful year in regards to what we wanted for ourselves in the future since we only had 1 year left in college. We both lived in the city for the very first time that summer and truly got a good taste of what life in the Big Apple would be like if we moved there permanently after college. Although we always knew that we would have a corporate job for at least a couple of years, we also felt that we wanted to have a medium where we can bring out our creative side. Ever since high school, Jess and I always played with the idea of having some sort of project together and it was last summer when we decided to fully dive into the blogging world!
About this photo - Our obsession with Taylor Swift brought us to this remote location in Long Island, to the beautiful Oheka Castle where the "Blank Space" music video was filmed. We went over Spring break (although you can't tell since it's still pretty cold and snowy in March), and had so much fun frolicking around the grounds. We actually have the same wool coat from J.Crew in different colors, and of course we both decided to wear plaid skirts for the occasion. Honestly, people thought we were a bit crazy when we said how far we drove to go see this place. Luckily, it was all worth it because we even recreated the library scene of the music video in the ACTUAL LIBRARY and had the music playing in the background. As a side note, Taylor Swift is on of our personal fashion icons and always has been for many years!
About this photo - Even though we are familiar with New York, we actually had never been to restaurant week before this summer! We had dinner reservations at Perry Street Restaurant, and since we were the first ones at the restaurant, we basically had the whole place to ourselves for a while before more people started rolling in. Yummy food and even better company.. can't really ask for more.
About this photo - We made it a point to go to every Taylor Swift concert after our first one in 2013. I can't even tell you how excited we were for 1989 since we basically already knew all the lyrics to every song within the first week of the album's release. We danced the night away at New York's MetLife Stadium, and spent hours on our way home talking about life and boys. We got back to the city past midnight, and had some of the creepiest encounters with people on the street. To this day, we are super paranoid about staying out late anywhere together.
2015 - 2016: From Dream to Reality (Jess)
About this photo - I remember New Years Eve pretty vividly, and it's crazy to believe 8 months have passed already. I had just come home from an epic semester of studying abroad in Vienna, and came back just before Christmas. I didn't really make any plans for New Years' Eve since I was so exhausted at that point (in a good way!) and just wanted to relax at home. Mel is always a phone call and 5 minute drive away, we basically spent the night talking about what we wanted to accomplish in 2016. We actually even made a 30 minute video for ourselves about our goals together and individually to look back on in the future! We were both heading into our final semester of senior year, and looking back now, 2016 has surpassed our expectations completely.
In April 2016, we finally launched Penny & Dash after countless hours and months of discussion on everything from content direction and overall vision, to the blog name itself. It honestly feels like yesterday, but we have so much more we want to do.
July 2016 : Eurotrotting
We always talked about taking a trip together, though it proved difficult with our busy schedules throughout the years. After much debate, we decided on a week-long extravaganza in France (read about the adventures here) in July, following our college graduations and individual travels. This was a really big trip for us since we pushed our boundaries and really tried to set the tone for Penny & Dash. We had so much fun exploring the beautiful French Riviera, and we couldn't stop talking about where we wanted to travel to in the future together and with our families.
About this photo - This picture was taken by Mel's dad when we were in Vienna, Austria right before the opera. We happened to be there at the same time on our trips, so of course we hung out and I got to show her all around this city since I'm familiar with the area! We were trying to get a shot of us crossing the street, but its a lot harder than it looks!
Jess & Mel:
From frolicking around in our high school hallways to doing the same around the world, our friendship has grown exponentially these past few years. So much of it has to do with our mutual goals about life in general, and our optimism in all that can be achieved with hard work and passion. Everyday feels like a new adventure, and this is only the beginning to what we imagine it could be. Thank you for following us on this journey.
Jess & Mel