It’s Time To Speak Up About Creativity

I’m looking back on the journal that I received on Christmas morning, and I remembered what I wrote that same day. My dad was calling friends and relatives to wish them a ‘happy holiday,’ and I remember him saying this one thing about me to a friend:

“she loves to f**king write.”

Damn right, I do! Like it’s a bad thing? No. I own it. 

Somewhere along the margins, I drew a determined snail slowly gliding her way out of her shell towards a cup of coffee. The context? I contemplated a young girl — too shy to say her own name, mainly because it was also a month — would soon be able to sip her coffee, and speak her mind and share her stories, no matter if it were with words, vocal cords, or a sculpture. It doesn’t matter how fast she is going, how long it’ll take her to get there, and who knows? It may take her faster than she thinks.

I said in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus, that my career path would be changing as opposed to what I said in FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine. Damn. I don’t know whether to insert an eye-roll emoji or a shrugging emoji. Talk about a girl who can’t make up her mind! I mean, hey, at least I stuck with a major! 🤣 there’s an emoji, for y’all!

But when was the last time I took a pen to paper? At work, I do, but I’m just jotting down ideas for the social media internship. But to physically write my thoughts down as if my blog or Microsoft Word never existed. Jotting down my thoughts sporadically on a page doesn’t help. I want to write. I want to be creative and write for everything — every magazine, publish my work, and just let my God-given artistic side shine like Christmas Lights through an opaque window. Thick the glass may be, I believe that glass is meant to be Society. Society yearns to break through the glass, except for the one-track-minded, who just shake their head ‘no’ and disapprove.

My brother told me, “at least you’re not going to work in social media.” Oops, sorry! It’s amazing how many people think that the arts, especially fashion, are so “superficial.” They’re not. It’s also amazing how our brains and our hearts refuse to listen to each other, like Venus and Mars. People thrive on creativity, and there are some that just simply thrive on logic. It’s not impossible to combine the two. I’ve done it through various works of art, without fearing the opinions of others. But at the same time, we can’t help but want other people’s opinions. I’ve come to realize there will be people who will not like my work, and that’s okay because their opinions don’t pay my bills (or tuition, LOL!)

Moral of the story: dive into your creative side more. I can’t hurt, no matter how ostensibly “bad” you think you are at, say, drawing. There are many ways to be creative. Except, to be creative is one thing, but to be a creator is another. I, personally, have no shame in being a creator. I was never that teenager who would settle for one of those tip-jar-jobs we (almost) all had in high school. Judge all you want, call me a priss, or whatever. But I love being a creator, and to create is what I wanted (and still) do for a living.

No matter what you’re career path is, I wish you Godspeed, and I hope that just for an hour, or even 15 minutes, you can appreciate a work of art or dive into a creative project.

xoxo,

April 😘💕

Empower Not Tower: It’s Okay To Fall Sometimes, As Long As You Can Pick Yourself Back Up Again

Remember when we were little kids and we fell down and had to endure the searing pain of scraping knees? When we were kids, we thought that we were invincible and indestructible, no matter what. So, we got up, shed a tear or two (especially if we were bleeding after falling on gravel — the worst!)

I was contemplating what to write for the past six hours since I haven’t written a blog post in well over three weeks. I saw this post on Instagram which prompted an idea:

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Do you think, when we were kiddos, that we would let a scrape define us? We may have scars that exist to this day, but hey, my appendectomy scars have faded at this point in time. But that’s just my own personal example. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know how resilient we are. The idea that originally sparked for a possible blog post today were examples of how far I’ve come despite what has hurt me, physically or emotionally. Being bullied for six years attempted to hold me down on the ground so many times that I need at least ten more sets of hands to count. Being shy and ostensibly different made me an easy target, for sure. The number of times I jokingly wrote “April Federico rocks!” on whiteboards only to have people tell me that I “don’t” was not only annoying but a tad hurtful. This is what I like to call Exhibit A. 1) I did what everyone else was doing, only to be ridiculed (that’s peer pressure, for ya) 2) I actually cared about what people thought of me. I did not have any self-confidence or self-esteem. I’ve had people try to knock me down while walking in hallways, locker doors closed on my nose without an apology, and people pointing and laughing at me when I was eating a pizza at Rock ‘N’ Bowl. At that point, I thought “seriously? They’re trying to ruin this for me too?” In fact, I thought some idiot would pull down my shorts that day so I wore a belt… on shorts that didn’t even have the loops for one. It seemed as though everything I did was subject to ridicule and mockery. Yup, that was middle school and the first half of high school.

The only person I really want to bitch-slap at this point is my middle school self for thinking she had to change because she was hurt by so many people. But at some point, I do want to sit in the parking lots of that middle school like YouTuber Katy Bellotte did in her video. For me, it would’ve been a whopping eight years later. Funny thing is, this is something I just thought of. I WILL do it someday and say, “I’ve fallen, been pushed, all these things, but I really didn’t need to change to give anyone the satisfaction.” Need a reminder of what mutilation I morphed into? Read Personas.

I also saw this one post by Katy Bellotte on her Instagram and she so eloquently said:

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Just some more food for thought. We are the heroes and heroines of our own story that pick themselves up again after we have fallen. Even if we feel defeated, we’re the ones who decide what to do with ourselves after the fact.

 

How to Find the Perfect Internship — I Did!

One of the biggest concerns I had for this summer was finding an internship, and not just any internship – the internship that would help open doors for me to future jobs and eventually law school.

I had it in my mind for the longest time that I wanted to go into publishing, but in high school, I was set on being a lawyer. Don’t get me wrong, I still write for a living and enjoy it each and every day. But since joining the RWU Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment (which advocates for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and Title IX) and conducting a presentation on Title IX and sexual assault/harassment on college campuses, I realized that this is the field I want to go into. Also, after talking to the Title IX coordinator on my campus, just to pick her brain in terms of the path I should go on, she recommended either education, law, or both. I decided to take her advice and go back to my high school dream.

Thus, I looked for government jobs on Handshake for the summer. It was close to the end of the semester, so I was ravenously searching and sending in my resume, cover letters, etc. But before hearing back from the positions I applied to, my “backup plan” was communication internships, because I do have a lot of writing experience. [One of] the place(s) that I’m interning at right now, Linden Place Mansion, wound up needing a student with experience in communications, public relations, and social media. There was no way I was passing this up, even though it is unpaid.

Resorting back to my other backup plan of getting a paid job at a pizza joint (just to get some extra money in my wallet and bank account), somehow, the career gods came through and I received an email the night of June 20, 2019, from the Mayor of Providence’s office saying I was selected for their (paid) Advanced Internship Program!

How did I get these internships? I persisted and I had a support system (my best friends, my mom, professors, and my boyfriend). Moral of the story: never give up, build your support system, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from a professional. In my case, the professional I asked was RWU’s Title IX Coordinator. The parting advice she gave me was to think of education or law and to take initiatives on campus and in the job atmosphere, like applying for jobs at women’s shelters or hotlines. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to perfect that resume and cover letter. What really is a lifesaver is Handshake, a job-searching platform that most universities have (or should have) now. These are things to keep in mind for the upcoming fall semester and the semesters and summers to follow.

“Chase those passions that make your heart flutter…” — Katy Bellotte

 

Sprinkled by Kristen: Meet Kristen Bauer, the Baker!

BOXBORO, MA — The day before our best friend’s (hi Katelyn!) graduation from Saint Anselm College, I had the chance to interview my dear friend, Kristen Bauer who happens to be a baker! When I sat down (while she baked), she was working on the frostings and fillings for the cake: a strawberry filling with a white chocolate ganache.

In order to make the ganache, she steams some cream until it boils then pours it over white chocolate chips for 5-10 minutes. “The ratio of the cream depends on how you thick you want it [the ganache] to be,” says Bauer.

The day prior to this interview, she made a fresh strawberry jam. She did this by cutting up some fresh strawberries, pouring a cup of sugar, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and let it simmer for two hours for the rich, thick, and savory flavor! Alongside the jam, she makes a whipped cream frosting which she will then decorate with pink and purple coloring.

Kristen has essentially been baking her whole life! Just like (almost) every other little girl, she had an Easy-Bake Oven, which sparked her passion for baking. She also adds, “I have a really big sweet tooth! And something about making desserts is a lot more satisfying to me than making other ‘creations.'”

“Normally, when I have problems with the logistics of my cake, I brainstorm with my mother […] she understands that this is a passion of mine and that I care about the minute details. For this cake, for instance, I’m trying to figure out how many layers I should make. I originally made two vanilla layers and cut them in half to make four layers. So, with that, you would get a different ratio of the jam and the white chocolate ganache. So I need to figure out what would be best for this cake, but also not ruining the structural integrity which is very important because if I do attempt to cut these two layers into four, I could very much destroy this cake, and we would have nothing!”

You can follow Kristen’s creations on Instagram @sprinkled_by_kristen .

And look at the finished product, everyone! It was scrumptious!

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For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23)

I almost made this post today (Monday, May 20th), but by the time this post goes live, I’ll be less than 24 hours from my “Jordan Year” a.k.a my 23rd year of living, breathing, and thriving.

This may, unfortunately, be my last year residing in beautiful Rhode Island as I do plan on (hopefully) moving back to Massachusetts for law school, and I am finishing my last year at RWU.

I made a post similar to this last year, but I thought I’d do it again because… duh, it’s my life and I think I’m rather good at giving advice if I do say so myself. I was looking back on For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22, and I just say, “damn how I’ve grown.”

So here’s to the girl about to turn 22 years old, this is for you:

  1. No matter if you’re graduating on time, or later than you expected, either is okay.
  2. Going along with that, don’t stress if you’re not graduating on time. Life happens/happened!
  3. Do NOT compare yourself. I’m not going to write that overly quoted phrase by whomever because EVERYONE knows what I’m talking about.
  4. There are people who are going to try to bring you down. Don’t listen to them.
  5. Also going along with that, there will be people who try to punish you for their personal B.S. Just know that you did nothing wrong.
  6. Do NOT be afraid to stand up for yourself and speak your mind when needed. If you feel that something is unjust, do something about it.
  7. It’s okay not to have a “cool job” over the summer, especially if you just graduated. I mean, hey, my mom waitressed for a year prior to getting her Master’s (and she really is the boss).
  8. You will find out what you want to do with your life. TRUST ME.
  9. Take your mom’s advice about self-defense and being safe. In fact, just listen to your mom. Period.
  10. If you’re going to argue something, be 110% prepared and know your facts.
  11. With that being said, don’t just be “opinionated.” You can’t call it an opinion if it’s not backed up with confidence and FACT. Don’t mistake confidence for arrogance and ignorance.
  12. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into something new.
  13. Don’t give into peer pressure nor should you be easily swayed.
  14. If you know, you know. No one’s going to know what’s better for you than you.
  15. It’s not easy being positive all the time. You have to give yourself a break and shed a tear or a couple hundred.
  16. All families are dysfunctional. Yours is not the model of all things dysfunctional.
  17. You WILL realize that you have way too much respect for yourself to be treated as less than you are.
  18. Listen to your heart, except if you’ve been drinking. Your drunk self has no common sense.
  19. A thesis isn’t that bad, and I’m saying that as someone who already wrote theirs.
  20. Indulge in your creative side more.
  21. Please do yourself a favor and watch Grey’s Anatomy.
  22. Don’t be afraid to go back to your roots, even if you haven’t particularly missed them. Confront them.

Now, I officially welcome you all into my 23rd year! 🥂

xoxo,

April 😘💕

 

 

Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus

Long time no post! Yes, I did take an unintentional hiatus from the blog, but don’t worry, your girl is BACK! 😉 I have spent well over a month working on myself and just being the best version of myself I can be. This includes realizing what I really want to do with my life. But in the past month and a half, I’ve realized there’s only one version of myself (despite being a Gemini.) That version of April is someone who knows her worth and her potential. I remember when I wanted to be a lawyer, thinking I’d fail the LSAT, so I gave up on that dream. Then I remembered the famous line from “A Cinderella Story.”

“Don’t let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”

Hilary Duff’s character, Sam, sees these immortal words after Fiona’s wall rips apart in her (or what was Sam’s dad’s) diner. But what Sam finally made clear to Fiona was that she had way too much respect for herself to be treated like, well, Cinderella! Sam always knew she was smart — smart enough to see past Fiona’s B.S.

Now, I have not taken the LSAT or GRE, yet. But this fear of failure has always been a prevalent demon in my life. Everyone knows my strive for perfection is clear-to-see. More recently, this included writing a whopping eight drafts of my thesis (… that I turned in Monday, May 6 😊 ). No matter how many drafts I’ve written, I know they were all 100% worth the strenuous nights and afternoons, yet it is rewarding to be done with my BFA in Creative Writing in just two years. LET THAT SINK IN. (Although I do have one more year to go.) What is amazing that I did not once shed a tear over my thesis, no matter how much I wanted to.

This quote also strikes a chord of truth in me when it comes down to my newly-minted career in RWU’s Student Senate. There was this almost-fictional character holding me back, but it was actually my “fear of striking out.” This was also true with dance auditions, which was why I’ve been falling in and out of love with dance since I was just a mere three-year-old.

Moral of the story: I know I said in FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine how I wanted to go into publishing. But if you know something just doesn’t sit right with you, don’t pursue it. Just like if someone doesn’t hear the value in your words, stop talking to them. My mom quotes my late grandfather all the time: “do the right thing.” And I’m about to do the right thing (for myself) in a matter of months: apply to law school so that I can be a voice for the underrepresented and those who may not be able to defend themselves. Don’t worry, I’m NEVER giving up my writing career for as long as I live. Nothing’s stopping me now.

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Self-Care and Spirituality Tips

During this time of year, you’ll notice that everything and possibly everyone around you has been acting “funky–” and not the good kind of funky. That is because the planet Mercury is currently in retrograde and that can affect all astrological signs, but especially Air Signs (like mine.)

You’re reading this thinking, “April, I think you’re being ‘funky’ because you don’t usually get into things like this.” Since transferring schools, I’ve gotten a lot into astrology and even gotten in touch with my spiritual-psychic side (I’m not Raven Baxter, I’m not actually psychic.) You can fight me all you want on this, but even when I went to Catholic School, we learned how others practiced believing.

This time of year actually happens to hit me right in the heart these past two years because we are actually approaching the 2-year-anniversary in which I was hospitalized. If you’re new to the Diaries, check out ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es) for the whole story.

So, how will I cope? Or how do I cope with something so heavy and tumultuous to remember? I have luckily learned how to achieve this hard-to-grasp aspect that is self-care.

Since practicing my spirituality, I have learned to replace “I want this…” with “I have this…” or “I am this…” PRESENT TENSE!!! It’s essentially a mantra! Another part of it is living in the present, which may sound like a cliche, but I promise you that’s it’s just common practice that a lot of people do struggle with. It’s just a habit that you have to get yourself into. It also helps if you write to your guides. Guides? Really, April? You’re insane. Eh, just a little😉 Learn more about them here. Listen, I’m not trying to “convert” anyone here. I’m just here to give advice and share what has worked for me these past three months of 2019. I have also learned how to treat myself (responsibly, of course) and immerse myself into things that I love to do, or have always wanted to do.

Hey, April, I’m friends with you on Facebook and I noticed you have a camera in your profile picture? What’s up with that? 

Writing may be one of my passions, but I can’t do it full-time, and I’ve been known to drive myself crazy with it. I desperately needed a hobby, not a hobby-turned-full-time-job-that-drains-the-sh*t-out-of-you. So, I branched out into the arts (which I’ve always loved), and I’m in the process of making a documentary for my Arts Administration Capstone and… wait for it…

A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

Taking time for yourself to do what you love is an important part of self-care, even if it’s just doodling in your notebook. And who knows? You could make a living out of it! Taking time for yourself, in general, is imperative to your overall being. So, you could go for a run, go get yourself a cup of coffee and avocado toast (like I did yesterday!) at your local coffee shop. The other day, I gave myself a facial and I also bought jade rollers, which you will see in another blog post to come.

Right now, I hope you’re in a nice pair of leggings or sweat pants because you deserve some serious comfort from your 9-5 job and/or studying! Happy Friday!

xoxoxo April 💕✌😘

 

 

 

Fight For Your Dreams, Fight The Patriarchy, And Support One Another In The Process

Every Academy Award show, year after year, there are speeches that may as well go down in history, especially this past award show. I would have liked to compile a “top ten best dressed: Oscars 2019,” but there is more that needs to be said.

Can we all just be in awe of the fact that Lady Gaga is halfway towards being an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony winner)!? That’s right, for those who missed it, Lady Gaga won an Oscar for “Best Original Song.” Everyone around me questioned Lady Gaga when I was growing up, but I’ve always liked her for being different. I read magazines that reported, “oh, she just likes the attention.” No. She embodies theater and performance. Don’t get me wrong, we’re supposed to question everything in life, and no one can exactly stop anyone for having opinions. But one thing is true is that opinions should be backed up by fact and not plain prejudice and self-importance.

Moreover, this part of her acceptance speech struck a chord of truth in me:

“If you have a dream, fight for it. It’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down or get beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand, are brave and keep on going.”

Oftentimes, I find myself questioning (there’s that word again!) my future based on what people say to me. Granted, especially if you’re in the arts, you’re going to have critics. I have/had many critics, no matter what the situation. But I’ve kept on going. I auditioned for dance theatre last month, and auditioned for two dances for the dance club and didn’t get into either one of them. But it was no belittlement of my talent because I know that I put in the effort and I tried. They even took the time to acknowledge how much effort I put in. I hated that people tried to talk me down from being “too passionate” when dancing. In fact, having passion while dancing is a good thing.

I then saw this Facebook post, post-victory and it was a picture of Gaga with a quote from her above it that read:

“I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a grammy, never have a hit and hoped I’d fail. I said to him ‘someday, someday when we’re not together anymore, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me.”

Did I mention some idiot she went to college with made a Facebook group titled, “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous?”

I know both those feelings all too well — to have people close to me not supporting me and, instead, hoping that I’d fail or do less. And I do recall being added to a random-ass Facebook group as a joke by people I didn’t even know in eighth grade. Who knows? There were probably Facebook groups or group chats solely made to diss me. Again, I don’t know, and I never will.

And my point? What you say will come back to unapologetically bite you. But I’m not here to give you karmic facts.

Also, today also happens to be International Women’s Day — one of my favorite days of the year! No, really, it is. I’m also very excited to announce that I will be returning to RWU next year as VICE PRESIDENT, for the second year in a row, of the Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment!!! I remember, at my previous college, I tried to start a women’s empowerment group, and to this day, I feel like I failed my interested peers because of the illnesses that overcame my life that semester. When I first announced it to my (then) class group on Facebook, it was mocked. I was often labeled a “third-wave feminist,” but that was just one source of ridicule on my ever-growing feminism. But look at me now! I could go completely off-topic if I wanted to, but I shall not.

But my point is? Instead of tearing each other down, support one another and build each other up. Many people have tweeted this, so much that it should just be a rule of thumb, at this point. Envy and hatred are never in style, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a fashion blogger (see what I did there?) It’s true, no matter what gender you are. Don’t write-off someone’s vision as “stupid” or something that should be “held off,” but a possibility. Who knows? That vision could be a good idea to others.

 

Getting Real About Fitting In. SPOILER: Standing Out Is So Much Better

In sixth grade, I searched for books in my mom’s shelf to read because I was bored with the typical adolescent genre that everyone my age was reading. I came across a book titled Fit In: Stand Out, only to find out it was all about marketing. It wasn’t until I finished typing that sentence that this ostensible “fitting in” and “standing out” is all about how you market yourself. This Monday without any classes whatsoever has me watching Hairspray (Nicki Blonsky and Zac Efron version), and Tracy Turnblad earns her spot on the Corny Collins Show by absolutely working it at… I don’t even know if it’s a dance or a soiree, tbh. Either way, she was both Link Larkin (Zac Efron) and Corny Collins’ “lady’s choice” and earns a spot on the show.

I was having a sort of “soliloquy/monologue” after not getting into a dance, and after watching the Grammy’s. I was recalling Lady Gaga’s initial speech (the one where she was alongside former First Lady Michelle Obama, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Alicia Keys, and J-Lo). She said, “they said I was weird. That my look, my choices, my sound, that wouldn’t work, but music told me not to listen to them.”

There was no doubt that I was called weird in those dark days of middle school. How do I know that? Because I heard most of it, like “b*tch, I can hear you, even when you’re supposedly ‘talking behind my back.’ TRY HARDER!!!” And booooy did people show how much they didn’t “approve” of me, too. I began to realize that I was letting people market me, but that’s because I wasn’t quite sure how to market myself. I tried to market myself as the girl who loved to sing and do theatre, only to be judged more. Fashion played a big role in my life, too, as a means of self-expression. Even today, I dress up even when I don’t have to, and if I don’t, I simply don’t feel like myself. 

You’re probably thinking, this girl is cynical AF. No. I am reflecting on and sharing my experience with you all so this makes sense.

To paraphrase what Lady Gaga said at the Grammy’s, art, no matter if it is sculpture, filmmaking, poetry, blogging, etc. taught me not to listen to the opinions of those who only aspire to be lemmings — afraid to be different. 

So, what I’m essentially saying is that standing out can be a great, beautiful, and courageous thing.

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“A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinion of sheep.”

― George R.R. Martin

 

 

 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Corduroy Jumpers are the New Blazers | Winter Fashion 101

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these fashion diary entries — since September 2018! I’m currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop in my cute little town doing work for thesis. Having a lavender tea never made me feel more relaxed and focussed than I am right now!

Spring Semester isn’t coming for another two weeks (at least for me.) As I said in my last post, this is the year of the color, purple and its many shades (shall I call this post Fifty Shades of Purple? Nah.) The colors purple, black, winter white, and even tan are paving their way into my wardrobe this winter season. New year, new clothes, am I right?

I took it upon myself to purchase a rosewood corduroy jumpsuit from SHEIN, along with a newspaper print top. I mainly bought the top to get myself motivated for my thesis topic LOL. Could it also foreshadow my future career? Who knows?

Anyway, here’s my jumper and top paired with black nylons and black Chinese Laundry high-knee wedged boots:

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While I’m at it, I’ll also attach a picture of my makeup:

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[Shameless self-promo] On the subject of bold lips and eyeshadow, have you checked out my magazine, Bold Lips and Coffee Talk, yet? We’re looking for blog writers and poetry submissions!

So this was short-and-sweet and to-the-point, just like my jumper!