I guess this is a “for the girl about to turn 23” post. If you’re turning 22, click here. If you’re turning 21, click here. There’s that classic Blink 182 phrase, “nobody likes you when… More
For the past few days now, I’ve been unfortunately gifted with COVID-19. I’m not trying to be political, even though the United States, in particular, is severely divided when it comes to the pandemic. I am lucky to be diagnosed with a breakthrough case and not with the D-variant. I’ve posted to Instagram about the issue, TikTok, and my Media Facebook page about this issue. Though it really shouldn’t be an “issue,” because an “issue” means argument. Not only has the past 18 months taught us to always be careful, be safe, and get vaccinated, the pandemic teaches valuable personal lessons. So, here is what I learned:
1. If you’re congested, get tested immediately.
I think, for me, it started as what seemed to be a cold that I thought I’d eventually get over. And I luckily “did,” or so I thought. However, I do work ungodly hours producing a morning show so I thought it was stress leaving me with a raspy voice due to a congested chest and stuffy nose. I did have a COVID scare a year ago because of that, and I thankfully tested negative at the time. It wasn’t until Saturday October 9 when I got a sore throat and what’s known as “COVID Voice” because I thought I had laryngitis. I warned my favorite YouTuber of this, and she said it was a wonderful suggestion and was one of the incredible people who wished me well.
2. Get in touch with your spirituality.
It wasn’t until last night when I cried because I felt the presence of, and don’t call me crazy, spirit guides. I began journaling regularly (as if I don’t write enough!) and watching videos by the Gem Goddess. This one video that I linked to actually made me cry. I kept hearing the words “forgive me” in my head all day, and I realized it was them trying to tell me something. But that’s another story. Talk about a divine intervention!
3. You realize who’s really there for you.
The first person I told about my diagnosis was my boyfriend and he immediately asked if I needed anything, if I had symptoms, and to be safe. I don’t think anyone realizes this, but when people tell you to “be safe,” it’s another way of saying “I love you.” I received an outpour of support from those who really want to see me better and showed genuine concern.
4. Show your body you love it.
If you treat your body poorly when you’re sick, do you really love yourself? Even though I would’ve liked to have a glass of wine or eat junk food when sick, it’s imperative that you put nutrients in your body. I’ve started taking vitamins religiously and I’ve taken to drinking hot lemon water with honey; it makes you sweat like a pig, but it WORKS. Also, be sure to take a shower at night because nighttime is when you feel worse because your body is shutting down for bedtime.
Having COVID is sobering and it is not fun. But I can tell you this: I am grateful that I nor my family members are on ventilators and that we can all breathe on our own. Tell God, guides, the universe — whatever feels right to you — and tell your own body “thank you.” And tell yourself, “we did it,” “we got this,” and/or “I love you.”
Be well, my friends. I’ll be producing loads of overdue content for y’all.
I’m sitting on my loveseat watching a documentary on Ernest Hemingway, and it’s quite the coincidence because I had written The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose two years ago today. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t take me a bit to develop a thick skin, being a full-time writer and content creator. The truth is that no one will necessarily agree with your lifestyle choices, or with the way your brain simply works. You cannot succumb to their criticism just because they simply don’t “get it.” By “it” I mean the way your mind works and/or your ideas. I remember when I was discussing media analysis with my boyfriend and I opened a review by a… “catty” critic from a reviewer of my second published book, The Disappearing Act. Yet again, I found that it was based off the ignorance of the creative process.
What’s funny is that I mentioned very limited knowledge about Hemingway in that post. Just like the creative process and the way people think, there is a reason for everything. There were reasons why Hemingway was an alcoholic. There were reasons why he wouldn’t wake up until 2:00 in the afternoon — it was because a famous American critic gave him a harsh review and Hemingway didn’t take it very well. It wasn’t until a Communist newspaper journalist said, “Hemingway has not produced a book in six years worthy of his talents.” To that, Hemingway responded with “there is only good and bad writing.” Huh. As to why he abusive to his wife, Martha, I will never comprehend an abuser’s mind, other than the fact that he was insecure about another bad review.
There is also a reason why Hemingway wrote about death so much. He had a fascination with it, especially with the way bulls are killed in a Spanish bullfight. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was. However, I can tell you this: in order to be a writer, you have to have some sort of fascination with something. It’s similar in the way that J.K. Rowling incorporated a lot of death in her Harry Potter books; she’s seen death firsthand by losing her mother in her twenties. That is to say, if you want to write a book, a blog post, article, or even start a YouTube channel, you’re not going to be successful by watching documentaries about authors and your favorite YouTubers all day. You can be inspired by what other people have done. But at the same time, you CANNOT compare yourself to someone else’s success. Someone’s chapter fifteen is not your chapter one. We all start from somewhere, whether you like it or not. I’ve heard of YouTubers who started at age 14 but didn’t make it a full-time job until they were 22 years old (e.g. Brooke Miccio).
Another part of building your brand and developing who you are is discipline and consistency. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Just like a carpenter or construction worker, they work tirelessly every day until they need some sort of break. There have been times where I have needed to take a break from blogging, only to see that it wasn’t benefiting me because not writing makes me obscenely anxious. But the other thing is to just simply not put pressure on yourself. Whomever said “sometimes you need to be pressured” is disturbed AF.
Be your own [insert your name here]. I wish you Godspeed in whatever it is you try to do, and I love you all!
Check out my latest YouTube video here.
My heart was feeling rather heavy today, and I wasn’t sure why. I had a great therapy session yesterday, but then I remembered that I am constantly surrounded by pressure to be this, that, and the other thing. I began to get flashbacks of dialogues from triggering situations. I then remembered that I am only human, I’m 25 years old, and I’m my own person.
I was watching a tarot/oracle reading by Vanessa Somuayina on YouTube, and in my personalized reading she mentioned that I (or anyone watching that particular reading) all start out as novices at something. I was a novice at blogging and now I have 1,592 followers as of an almost-five-year period. A lot of people didn’t understand my need to create content so much or to publicize my life on social media. It’s a way of getting people to relate to my content. My goal is to make social media my full-time job; judge me, I dare you.
Likewise, I am a novice at adulting. Anyone in their twenties is! I’m constantly learning about myself, the world, the people living in it. I am no “sexual anthropologist” like Carrie Bradshaw calls herself in the very first episode. I’m more so of an “anthropologist at life (?)” Call it what you want. But I know what I want and live for. What I live for is creating content that hopefully helps college students, and adults alike.
As of today, I officially own my power, as if I didn’t already. You, too, will learn not to question your work ethic. Your work ethic is superb, no matter what outside forces say. Are they even ostensible “forces”? They’re more like commentaries from the peanut gallery or that idiot in your DM requests trying to tell you some BS (and believe me, I get those A LOT).
However, I am beginning to notice in whatever is I do/create, my worth is not based on followers, “likes,” or what people think about me. Don’t get me wrong, I love you all. But my energy will never be destroyed nor will I lose sleep over a bad review. Energy can’t be destroyed, in general. I’m no expert in physics, but I know that energy is always being turned into something else. For example, I can get tired sometimes to borderline exhaustion. But I channel that exhaustion to something productive, e.g. blogging or journaling. In fact, journaling is how I get my best ideas for posts.
Next time you feel pressured by society, family, or your own mind, just remember to be patient with yourself. Being a novice at something doesn’t determine your worth. It just matters that you’re doing the best you can. Create something with that energy of yours, it’s only gaining momentum.
When COVID-19 happened, I found it hard to find a steady routine to live by every day, and it was harder because my then-work schedule would change like a girl changes clothes. Besides, the job was taking its toll on my mental health. But then, after 15 months of the pandemic and year of grad school, I decided that it was time to put the beer and wine aside and get my act together. Yes, I seldom drink now. #Wins
Building healthier habits isn’t the only way to practice self-love. Self-love also requires accepting yourself for who you are, and that includes your flaws as well as opening up to them. Maybe it’s because people weren’t at their best during the pandemic, but self-improvement became a vast movement. Me? I just chose to do it on my own terms, not society’s. Besides, how many people actually say they’re going to ostensibly “improve” themselves and actually do it? The answer is very, very few.
That’s the thing about habits; they’re easy to build and harder to kick. When it comes to health and wellness, they’re actually harder to build and and harder to kick. But it slowly gets better over time. Healthy habits CAN be easy to build and to keep! For me? It took about a week to be less dependent on alcohol. But since getting the app, Fit On, I’m more cognizant of what I choose to put in my body. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a strawberry margarita at your local Mexican restaurant with churros and warm chocolate dip for dessert. That’s just simply depriving yourself of having fun!
Some habits include:
- Waking up at 6 a.m. (or any time before 11).
- Getting a morning workout in. I do yoga and meditation, preferably outside.
- If you can’t work out, just simply stretch.
- Shower, if needed or just pat-dry your face
- Having coffee or tea (whichever you prefer, just don’t drink too much caffeine!)
- Have a protein shake or something healthy for breakfast.
- Communicating however which way with the people you love, even if it’s just checking in.
- Soaking up a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
- Taking vitamins.
- Dancing around in your room to a killer playlist (I personally adore Lana Del Rey).
- Getting dressed.
- Taking a walk or run and getting in a certain amount of steps.
- Spending time with your sweetie and/or friends.
- Drink water! I like mine in a glass with a wedge of lime or lemon to boost my metabolism.
As cliche as this sounds, your body really is the only one you have. Treat it well. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Build good habits for you and only you. If this serves as motivation for you, well, that’s just fantastic!
Good luck, my loves.
Dear future husband… if I ever meet you…
I don’t even know if I want to “settle down,” after what I’ve been through.
My first relationship was someone whom I dated for two weeks. It wasn’t love, it was a typical high school romance. In fact, why was I so hung up on a guy who left me for some other girl? It didn’t take me too long to turn my obsession into becoming a smarty-pants. There were subtweets and hurt feelings involved, but I learned to move on from high school to college — behavior and all.
My first college boyfriend, that classified as a “college boyfriend,” was two years older than me. I always knew I liked older men, and this was just icing on the cake. He claimed he loved me for who I was, even when I gained weight. However, I didn’t see it from the beginning. He told me he “only gets out of only my pleasure.” He never got anything out of, well, anything. I officially got the fact that he loved me, just not in that way. I was so embarrassed about everything that happened on our one-year anniversary that I couldn’t even tell my best friend. Then, that October morning, he told me he was never attracted to me at all. Which led me to asking everyone else after him, “why did you waste my time?”
But the first time I used that line was the first guy I moved onto after him. I swore to God I would never use that app again. I touched on this briefly in Cheers To Two Years Of This Blog and there’s absolutely no doubt that I’ve grown, even after Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog. Two apps. Three (maybe four) guys. And a whole lot of “I will never do that again.”
I hate that I met the one guy I thought I truly loved on dating app, only to find out he just “liked” me. Yes, I know, he dropped the L-bomb way too soon. I lied that March when he took it back. It wasn’t worth getting into a petty argument with my friends. And to those friends: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I lied when I said I was okay, when I wasn’t. I’m sorry that kept making excuses for him.
Perhaps I just avoid confrontation. Perhaps I just “want so much.” But I’m not who my exes say I am. I am me. I’m damaged, but I don’t want to be the one to salvage a man. You may have baggage, but I can’t be the one to fix you. You’re not a dog. As you can probably tell, I left some stuff out. But I shouldn’t have for the sake of a blog post. I want to be honest with you. I want to share my virginity for you and only you. Yes, I’m still a virgin. And I think I’m fabulous for that. But that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I don’t want to make out in a car after meeting twice. I don’t want to be lead on for the millionth time. I don’t want to be in an “open relationship–” I can only stick to one guy at a time. And for you, it should be me or nothing at all.
When we — maybe, just maybe– we get married, I’ll be open to it. But you better have your whole heart into it, not just half-heartedly. And for God sakes HAVE GOOD GRAMMAR! I hope you love pizza night Friday’s just as much as I do. I hope you love animals, just as much as I do. I hope you love to dance, and that you are actually good at it, and you aren’t afraid to show me off at a wedding. I hope you love wine nights… multiple times a week. More than anything, I hope we can support each other in our dreams. I don’t want to have to move because of you because I think I know who you might be. I want to go to law school after I get my master’s, so hopefully you’ll be wherever I end up.
When I’m a partner in a law firm, I hope not to gain just 15 of them. I want you to be my life partner. I hope I’m not asking too much, yet everyone has a set of boundaries that they must set. And when you say “thick and thin,” mean it.
I don’t know what else to write. So, I’ll just leave it at that.
Last week, I got off the phone with my therapist. I was feeling a sense of hope yet another sense of hopelessness. That’s when I realized my imposter syndrome was so bad that my anxious self would not let me pull myself out of it. I was constantly focused on the future — what it could hold. Did I mention I’m impatient AF?
I couldn’t help but compare myself to people who rent their own apartments because I still live at home. I couldn’t help but compare myself to people who had full-time jobs. But then I realized, I’m furthering my education by going to grad school for my career: publishing and writing. I’d be lying if I said that I was never judged. You can’t really stop the world from judging, but in reality, you’re your own worst critic.
I then saw a post from some media outlet (I’m sorry I don’t remember who posted it!) But it was a series of TikToks from a very successful woman (her name also escapes me — ah!!). No, her success was not a story that happened overnight. Her success came from within and many, many bouts of comparing herself. However, comparing herself was getting her nowhere. This same woman worked at Trader Joe’s for quite some time, until she proved herself to be a successful realtor. I’m definitely no expert in real-estate, but this woman seems to be pretty prominent in the industry.
One thing this woman asked herself was, “why isn’t everyone else’s success happening to me?” Instead she switched her mindset to “in time, everything will be yours.” She then got to work. And that’s the thing about applying yourself to whatever it is you set your mind to. Think of it as a job; you can’t just submit your resume without your cover letter! In real life, you can’t just go on and on about the things you’ve done; you need to prove yourself that you can do the job. Don’t get me wrong, it is perfectly fine to be absolutely confident. But you need to have a plan in order to execute the results you want. This means putting in the time and energy to do so.
In time, something — no matter what it is — will be attained. You just have to get off your behind and achieve it. That means writing your cover letter — not recycling the ones you’ve already written because trust me, belaboring your point to a billion employers will only have you killing your own brain cells. If something’s clearly not working in your favor, you have to change it. No one else is going to do that for you. How you think of yourself and how you put yourself on paper matters. Think about it: the energy you put out is the same energy you will get back. It’s karma and manifestation! If you think that life is absolutely exhausting you, you will feel that lethargy and negativity. Don’t burn yourself out before you try to better yourself and especially don’t burn yourself out when you’re going after your dreams!
Be patient with yourself. If you’re not seeing results right away, don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t be mad at the universe, either. In time, it’ll be yours.
When people see me on social media just living “my best life,” they don’t know that my mind is a constant battlefield of insecurity. Right now, as I’m writing this, I feel better because I don’t feel insecure about putting my insecurities out there, hoping that someone out there will understand. I can tell you right now that I am confident that I will inspire someone out there and give someone a big virtual hug (through words — I’m better at writing than I am talking!). After all, no one is put on this Earth to please and constantly kiss people’s asses. I could give people a million reasons to make fun of me: I’m a 25-year-old virgin, I live at home, and I don’t own my own vehicle (correction: I don’t own a vehicle yet…stay tuned on the ‘gram). I’ve even dealt with my fair share of imposter syndrome.
This past Monday, June 7, I was in my round-about driveway laying in the sun when I chose to take pictures of myself… in a bathing suit. I didn’t care if I was wearing a one-piece from SHEIN, what mattered was my state of mind. Before that, I hadn’t worn a bathing suit in years because I had gained a whopping 50 pounds in college. But just the other day, I realized that in college, gaining weight is 100,000% normal as long as you’re happy. Yes, I’ve been pressured to lose weight. I’m not going to lie and say that family members’ words didn’t bother me. What’s terribly f—ed up about that is society, in it of itself, wants people to “look good” instead of just simply being “happy.” In fact, I can look in the mirror and honestly say, “wow, April, you look sexy!” THAT’S what exudes confidence and gives me serotonin.
Moreover, I took this one photo of myself where the lower half of my stomach was prominent and my thigh was gigantic. I then realized, that’s just an angle. And what’s funnier is that “angle” wasn’t even natural. Wait… am I picking apart myself here? April, snap out of it! You look hot! No, I’m not being conceited. No, I am not being cocky. In fact, it took a matter of five days just to get myself like that picture. (My laptop is not letting me load it.) I felt so inspired that I took another bathing suit picture and joked that I was channeling Pamela Anderson!
You can make fun of me all you want. No one’s opinion defines me. What matters is how you define yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Once upon a time, a girl had just graduated from college during a pandemic. She was in search of a job, and she found one… at her local dollar store. That job lasted about a year until she found something better than retail — something in her field.
She found a job as an editor for Hollywood.com. She always knew she’d be in entertainment, some way or another.
Did I mention this young woman is me?
Here’s the thing: I didn’t necessarily break up with my retail job. In fact, I moved on. But I guess I didn’t move on entirely considering I still shop there. I mean, come on, it’s only been two weeks!
I remember giving my manager my two-weeks notice in early May. I felt bad because his eyes widened like no other and proceeded to ask, “can I ask why?” I told him I got a job as an editor.
Instead of using some Sex and the City analogy, I’m going to use an Emily In Paris analogy. So, here we go. Emily takes the job in Paris because her boss is pregnant and her boss decided not to go. Emily tells her then-boyfriend, Doug that she’s guaranteed senior brand manger when she returns after a year in the city of lights (and other things). She and Doug don’t break up until the third episode of the first season, but that’s because Doug can’t seem to grapple Emily “moving on.” But don’t worry, the rain washes away the pain of the previous day (rain also means prosperity — remember that after you break up with somebody).
Nonetheless, Emily Cooper moved on with her life because she knew she was so much better than Doug and Chicago, no matter how cosmopolitan her life may have been there. In fact, she found men like Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) and Mathieu Cadeau (Charles Martins), but not that men are the most important part of her new life in Paris. She claims in the first episode that “work makes her happy.” And honestly, work makes me happy, too, if I’m enjoying it and it’s in my field.
It’s a way of saying, “you were good to me, but I’m ready for something more.” It’s a way of saying, “I’m moving on from what no longer serves me.” In this case, Doug no longer served her.
Now, listen, why am I telling you that career is better than love? I’m not. Plot twist. It goes both ways in both love and career. You can move on from a person and say, “you no longer serve me.” You can indirectly say to a job, “I want to be something else.” In my case with my manager, he said (and keep in mind he’s a year younger than me…), “I want you guys to graduate from [dollar store name here] and I want you guys to go to college.” Keep in mind, I kept that job to stay afloat during my first year of grad school. Now, I’m out of my first year of grad school and I want to keep growing in my career, thusly, I am. I work for Hollywood.com now. I haven’t felt this “high” since my internship at Rhode Island Monthly. (I’m NOT talking smoking, here, people! I don’t smoke! And neither should you!)
You should get that “high,” whatever it might be from — a career, a relationship, something that just makes your heart and mind sing. Your heart and mind are a two-way street. It’s not a cheesy love song that you’re listening to in your head. You could overthink, and that’s one of the worst things to do to yourself. But in the ultimatum, you’re doing what’s best for you.
I mean, when I published No one’s going to tell you what to do, I was mocked when I couldn’t make up my own mind. But they were wrong to mock me. Some people have it figured out, some don’t. But since I don’t know most of the people who read my blog, I’m not going to mock. In fact, I wouldn’t mock you in the slightest. I’d help you. This blog is meant to help my readers who are college students, high school seniors, and even graduate students who might want to get their Ph.D. Do I want to get my Ph.D? I don’t know! It’s only the summer of 2021! Don’t rush anyone or anything. Everything has its own divine timing.
This past year taught me more about adulting than any other. I’m not counting the time I cried in the financial aid office practically begging for more money in my junior year of college. Maybe it was because I was scared. Maybe it was because I, for once, would deal with finances bigger than my head. I say bigger than my head because my future is so much bigger and brighter. And yours is, too.
This past year, I’ve published two books, started graduate school, and got my first “big girl job” in the world of editing – all of this for the purpose of fulfilling my grad school career and beyond.
Never will I ever say I am ostensibly “washed up.” No. Nobody is. You are simply a new version of yourself. That’s advice #1. I might as well get into the list.
2.) Adulting may seem daunting, at first, and sometimes stressful. But there will come times that you will have to ask for help.
3.) I said this many, many times but being single is actually f—ing fantastic.
4.) Dating apps are not worth the aggravation.
5.) Friends with benefits are not a thing. I have not tried this, nor will I ever. DON’T F— YOUR FRIENDSHIPS.
6.) Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I don’t know where that’s from, but it’s true.
7.) The unfortunate art of “growing apart” hurts like an SOAB, but it’s a part of life and life is full of transitions.
8.) It’s okay if you’re still living with your parents. I am! In fact, a lot of graduate students have gone back home due to the pandemic to live with their ‘rents.
9.) Making an Instagram for your dog is okay. Yes, I made one for my Yellow Labrador, Brody, and you can follow him @goodestboybrody.
10.) It’s okay to stay up past midnight to have more “me time.”
11.) Take that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because you never know if it’ll come back.
12.) You are worth so much more than a guy who just wants to sleep with you/go down on you.
13.) If you practice the law of attraction, manically manifesting/fixating will not help you.
14.) If you’re constantly feeling compared to, it’s not you. It’s them.
15.) It’s acceptable if you’re a little “all over the place” now. You’ll have it figured out — whatever “it” is.
16.) Take that chance and email that job/employer.
17.) Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
18.) You never lose, you learn.
19.) Pick something you want to improve and focus on it.
20.) It’s okay to walk away from something that no longer serves you.
21.) You’ll learn the value of acceptance and your intuition.
22.) You’ll know exactly what you want. Dreams don’t work unless you do.
23.) With that being said, don’t give up.
24.) Don’t give up, but take some time to rest and take care of yourself. Take a nap, sis. You deserve it.
I once said that I really wouldn’t want to be anybody else. And you know what? That’s actually true, and what’s funnier than 24? I actually believe when I say I am me and I love the me that I am. I don’t need SpongeBob or Patrick to laugh at that. Thank you, anyway!
xoxo and happy birthday!
I’ve watched Legally Blonde more times than I can count on both hands. There’s that poignant scene where Elle is venting to Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge also happens to be an Emerson alum… just saying). Before Professor Stromwell hits her with that famous “if you’re going to let that stupid prick ruin your life…” quote, Elle tells Paulette, “it’s the first time in my life that people expected me to become more than just a Victoria’s Secret model.”
In my first year at Emerson, I learned, I worked, I wanted to cry (but didn’t), and I persevered. In my many years in academia, I wanted to give up. Again, I never did. But I feel as though this is the first year I actually didn’t want to give up because I felt purposeful in my career. By career, I don’t mean academia. I mean journalism and magazine publishing.
I tried my hand at book publishing — in the marketing realm to be more specific. Of course, that wasn’t for me. So, why would I try to diverge into another field of publishing? As much as I love to read, I could never market a book for a living. That’s not to say that magazine publishing is any easier.
Moreover, I not only feel but I know that I haven’t second-guessed myself completely. It wasn’t long until I left said book publishing gig when I came face-to-face with the reality it just wasn’t for me! I’ve been committed to magazine publishing since I was reading fan magazines in second grade — everything from J-14 to Tiger Beat.
I write all of this after a fantastic day. I got my first freelance check; I found out that I’m getting an A the best class I’ve taken thus far; and I scored my first “big girl job” in the world of editing. Everything comes in threes.
Another thing about second-guessing yourself is that you’re always left with uncertainty. You can feel this in a relationship, in your course of study, or even in a decision that you made. However, with every decision you make comes a lesson and a blessing in disguise. But don’t get me wrong, you can make the best decision of your life. Years later you’ll be able to say either that was the best decision at the time, or again, of your life. Those lessons can help you in the future.
The thing about uncertainty is that you’re stuck with the mentality that something won’t work out. It can thusly make you physically sick or emotionally exhausted. For example, if you’re “stuck” in what you think is a dead-end job, you’re really not. It’s just a means to an end! And in the end, you’ll always feel grateful. So be grateful no matter what happens!
For a while, I’ve never considered myself the “reading type,” but it’s more than essential to my field of study. It helps people to think critically, analyze, and generate new ideas. In fact, I was very bookish as a child. Reading has become more than an escape from reality in the time of COVID, it’s become a lifestyle.
With that being said, summer is upon us. So, here are a few reads I’m adding to the official “April Diaries Summer Reading List”! (Also, apologies for the lack of images, I just got a new laptop — a MacBook Air — and I still haven’t mastered its entirety!)
- A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood.
- The Ex Talk by Rachel Lyn Solomon.
- The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.
- Almost French by Sarah Turnbull.
- Regretting You by Colleen Hoover.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear.
- How To Lead by David M. Rubenstein.
- The Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander.
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
- Anything else you can feast your eyes on! It’s up to you!
What do you think of calling this series the “April’s 10”? Let me know in the comments and happy reading!
Also, if you don’t think reading is cool then there is something wrong with you.
CW: This post contains content about mental health and sexual assault. Resources are the bottom of page.
A lot of people are probably “still processing last March,” as the memes say. However, I think this month is already pretty monumental, especially for women. It is Women’s History Month, after all. With that being said, we should celebrate women every day. After a tumultuous year, and one year since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, we may have even more to celebrate.
On Sunday night, while chowing down on my bacon cheese fries from Classic Pizza, my mom and I were watching Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and Harry. Simultaneously, social media was blowing up along with every word Meghan said. Mental health, I think, is something that wasn’t so much touched in the media, however. Mental health often goes unlooked, and I don’t know why I’m still surprised at the fact that people can be so inconsiderate to the topic. As a matter of fact, I just read an article about taking mental health days and why they seriously matter in terms of attaining clarity. You won’t get anything done with a clouded mind. And you definitely won’t get anything done when your mental health, at large, is going to sh*t. It’s even worse when you’re stuck in a toxic environment, like Meghan was. Markle begged for help, and the institution wouldn’t give it to her because it just “wouldn’t look good.” They lied to her when they said she’d be protected. Protection and security are ultimately what we, women, want in life, and that may look different for everybody. But needless to say, there are a lot of parallels to Meghan and Princess Diana. And boy, do I have a lot of opinions of Prince Charles. 😡 Harry was absolutely right when he said he didn’t want that (still) raw piece of history to repeat itself. So, he didn’t let that happen to his wife. Harry really is the husband that Diana needed.
In third grade, I had a fascination with Oprah. This began with a Black History Month book report. Oprah was interesting to me because she was a “troubled teenager,” but you really have to understand why. She was molested by her father as a kid, and she additionally grew up impoverished. It wasn’t until the age of thirty-two that she became a millionaire. Something I didn’t know, was that she opened up the doors to “confession culture.” Huh. That’s maybe because self-help was frowned upon in the ’90s, at least that what’s conveyed to Charlotte in a Sex and the City episode. However, what Oprah probably had in the back of her mind, was that these so-called “confessions” could actually help people. That’s exactly what I aim to do on this blog, too. Personal experience does help people.
Nevertheless, I idolized Oprah in secret. I wanted to be a journalist until I was whisked away by outside distractions. I realize, now, that it’s women like Oprah who inspire me to tell stories and women like Meghan Markle who inspire me to convey parts of my story that were left untold.
It was the end of the morning on a Friday, and I peruse through social media after conference after conference (virtual, of course — we are living in a pandemic, after all.) I saw a striking post on Instagram, then again on LinkedIn later on that night. The post alluded to dearly missed author, Toni Morrison’s birthday on February 18, 1931. She said, “One day, alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about the job.” What job? I may not know. But I presuming it’s about being an author. Yet again, I am no expert on Toni Morrison’s life. She continued to write, “Although he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No ‘Oh, you poor little thing.’ Perhaps he understood that what I wanted was a solution to the job, not an escape from it.”
Her essay on the value of work and home-life included the following:
- Whatever the work is, do it well — not for the boss but for yourself.
- You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
- Your real life is with us, your family.
- You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.
I came to terms with all of these as I continue to live what I call my “quadruple life.” Yes, that’s me being dramatic, but also somewhat serious. I write for three publications, not just this the April Diaries, but I also work part-time at my local Dollar Tree. But who am I at home? Who am I when I’m with my friends? I think, pre-COVID, I would’ve been able to answer these questions. I haven’t seen a single one of my friends since the pandemic started. Nowadays, I just say, “I’m a writer.” But no one ever inclines to say, “not what, who are you?”
When I think about it, when you eventually pass on, your soul is what people will miss — not your career. You may have made an impact on your career and your respective field. But what you bring to it, people will remember forever. The attitude, the liveliness, and your unique charm draws people to you. The same thing goes for events.
I guess it’s easy to say that the coronavirus took a lot of things that probably will remain “changed forever.” Perhaps wine nights will remain virtual, until everyone gets the vaccine. But this is me going on a tangent.
I’ve been identifying as a writer for almost a year now. When my mom asks me, when I complain I have nothing to do, “what is your hobby?” I immediately say “writing” because it’s the only thing I know so far. I love to do tarot and journal in the mornings. I can’t even begin to describe how sacred mornings are for me!
You can’t just work 24/7 — it’s impossible! What’re even worse are the back pains and eye strains (yes, I use blue light blockers) from sitting at your computer for what seems like eternity.
You have to give yourself a break. You have to set some time aside to go back to yourself. You are not your job. You are you, and I am me: the woman who loves mornings, tarot, journaling, photography, going out to eat, and exploring new places!
Who are you?
The best part about growing up is that you get to actually live your dreams, instead of being told “you’re a kid” or “you’re too little.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been writing since I was 8. But even then I was saying to myself, “one day, people will take you seriously [as a writer.]” One day turned into Day One, where I served as a coordinator for RISC (Rhode Island Student Collaborative.) Before that came Rhode Island Monthly, where I indubitably had the best summer of my life. And just like that, three years later, I am interning at Art New England and writing for the Boston Globe Magazine, as a “globe correspondent,” in relation to a class I’m taking at Emerson.
As I look back on the popular “for the girl turning 2–” posts [For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22, For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23), Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first], the lessons that I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced have surely molded me into someone who I am today. But the experiences haven’t existed without the people and the things and ideas that easily influence(d) me. What I know now, however, is that I’m not the girl who settles anymore, instead I learned how to be picky. I’m not the girl who watches Grey’s Anatomy anymore, and as you all know Sex and the City is my bible. But yet again, everyone has their comfort show, and that’s more than okay. It’s good for anxiety.
How I’ve grown as a writer, has honestly changed but also been somewhat lost from when I interned at RI Monthly. There’ve been those who have been with this blog since the beginning — a brokenhearted twenty-year-old, lost, and with no direction. I’ve grown in various forms of copyediting. I laugh at my own grammar mistakes now, which is all you can do, right? Doesn’t that add to the authenticity? There are also those who have grown with me along the way, maybe not so much at the beginning, but have managed to catch up like a Sex and the City re-run marathon. That’s what it’s been like for me, a whole re-run of my life just documented in a digital diary (hence why it’s called “The April Diaries.”) I invite you in. I also invite other people to share their stories with me, as well.
And just like that… the April Diaries has grown up.
NEW YORK, NY (February 1, 2021) – Dillard’s, Inc. (“Dillard’s”) (NYSE: DDS) and New York-based
designer duo, Michael and Alex Toccin, are pleased to announce the launch of LDT, a new brand from
the husband-wife team behind TOCCIN NY.
LDT offers a fresh take on American fashion with the powerfully feminine style of both the ‘60s and ‘90s. The mix of vibrant colors and thoughtful designs are perfectly balanced to create a collection that can be worn every day of the week.
“We are looking very forward to exclusively launching LDT with Alex and Michael Toccin,” said Alexandra
Dillard Lucie, Dillard’s vice president of merchandising. “They have built a fantastic team around the
TOCCIN brand, and we are eager to see their unique style and brand represented at Dillard’s.”
LDT leans into the couple’s ability to translate style and trends into pieces that women can wear, no
matter the occasion.
“LDT is about giving women a fun and fresh take on American fashion that makes every day special,”
said designers Alex and Michael. “We are thrilled to launch this new brand while maintaining our core
mission: to make women everywhere feel comfortable, confident and stylish.”
Michael and Alex named the brand after their young daughter Liv Dakota Toccin. Inspired by designs
that evoke a sense of youthful joy, the custom patterns and prints are combined with an easy-to-wear
style that gives the collection an ageless, elevated edge at an incredible price.
LDT will be available starting February 8, 2021, exclusively in 85 Dillard’s stores nationwide and online at Dillards.com.
LDT is a fresh take on American Fashion, an evolution of the signature Alex + Michael aesthetic for which they’ve become known + celebrated. Named after their daughter, Liv Dakota Toccin, LDT evokes a sense of youthful joy, while still serving up fresh fashion that women of all ages can wear every day of the week. While there are nods to the powerfully feminine style of the ‘60s and ‘90s, the real inspiration for the collection lies in “making everyday special.” Learn more about the collection at LDTofficial.com
May Flaum has been crafting since she was a child. However, when she went to college, she studied the travel industry. After 9/11 happened, she was unfortunately out of a job and her internships were no more. She thusly rekindled her love for crafting when she got her first “crafty” job managing a crafts store and teaching classes. “Before Facebook and Twitter, in person events were the one and only route, as well as blogging, message boards — people wanting to share knowledge and learn from each other,” says Flaum.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Flaum could only do so much as to host Facebook Live Events. She especially does Facebook Live Events because she is a Brother Crafts Ambassador. To her, being approached by Brother USA was a blessing because she has been using their products for so long (e.g. their famous sewing machine.) In addition to Facebook Lives, she also thinks of features for their site, produces YouTube videos, and videos and tutorials that go onto the Brother USA Website.
Crafting has become more than just a hobby for most during the pandemic. With that being said, her advice to young DIYers, especially those who are selling their hobbies on sites like Etsy is to “just go for it.” Flaum also emphasizes coming back and revisiting the idea of selling your hand-crafted pieces, as well as lifting others up and finding someone to compliment. “It only takes a second! You never know who might need it!” says Flaum.
Her background in the traveling industry has actually helped her plan out travel events. She has absolutely no regrets because the logistics of her education have helped her a great deal. “It’s never wasted,” she says.
5 Crafting Must-Haves for 2021
By May Flaum, Brother Crafts Ambassador
- A Designated ‘Create Space’
Whether you’re a crafter, sewer, or embroiderer, it always helps to have your own space meant for creating. This space is where you can keep your machines, embellishments, fabric, vinyl, glue, etc. That way, when you’re on to your next project, you will have everything you need organized and ready to get to the fun part- the making! This doesn’t need to be a large space or even permanent spot – it could be a small desk with drawers and space to keep your supplies or even a portable storage system so you always have your creative supplies with you and organized – wherever you create. It makes creating a little escape into your own craft world easy.
- SVG Files
In 2021, crafting meets technology with the use of SVG Files – or Scalable Vector Graphics. These files give crafters the ability to easily incorporate their favorite designs in an array of projects. Some machines even come with built in designs making projects possible as soon as you turn on the machine. Whether you are creating your own graphics, utilizing free SVG files, purchasing from digital shops, like Etsy, or using the files that come standard in your machine, SVG files make all sorts of crafting from sewing to scrapbooking fun!
- Craft Vinyl
My go-to for creating decals, custom apparel, stencils, and more is craft vinyl. The possibilities are endless with vinyl from stickers to iron-on. Just cut your craft vinyl from your desired (SVG or other) design and transfer it onto your desired project. Craft vinyl comes in a variety of finishes glossy, glitter, flocked, patterned, pearlized and so much more. Easy to cut, weed, and apply it adds a lot to customize and craft a wide variety of projects.
- An Electronic Cutting Machine
An electronic cutting machine is a must-have for any crafter in 2021. As mentioned above, having access to digital designs is a gamechanger and an electronic cutting machine, like the Brother ScanNCut DX, will become your go-to for everything from birthday cards to ornaments, pillowcases, and gift bags. For example, the ScanNCut machine comes with built-in designs, including holiday patterns and letter fonts so you can quickly create and edit on the touchscreen display. Creating with craft vinyl and importing SVG files only takes moments as well – expanding your creative possibilities and making more possible at a fraction of the time to hand-cut.
For any kind of crafting, it’s always a good idea to keep ribbon, buttons, glitter, and other accessories of your choosing on hand to spruce up your projects. From scrapbooking to picture frames, a finishing touch can go a long way. Look for items that are in colors that you create with often, and don’t be afraid to mix and match to create the perfect finishing touches to your handmade creation.
*Featured Image courtesy of May Flaum.
January is Self-Love Month, and I’ll be honest and say it’s been sort of a struggle to be positive all the time. I think, as I mentioned in New Year’s Resolutions that people tend to beat themselves up as if they want their resolutions right away. I haven’t been consistent with my walking 2,000 steps every day, but when you need to rest, you need to rest! Besides, who really is positive all the time? January is a time, not a “free trial month” but to make a plan.
The thing about this elusive “self love” (and shout out to my aunt who came up with this idea for a post!) is, why do people put so much pressure on themselves? I’ll admit from personal experience that I strived to be that perfect student in high school, and I got a rude awakening in my first semester of college that really no one can be perfect. With that pressure, aside from OCD, came arrogance and many hours of crying thinking that I wasn’t good enough, even though I was doing just fine. You know what the scary part is? I’m realizing all this as a write this. Self-awareness is something I also need to work on, and I admit that wholeheartedly. Ding, ding, ding! Another thing about self-love! You’ll learn to embrace imperfection.
I wish I could shake my eighteen-year-old self and tell her, “you’re going to be a much more confident young woman, and you’re going to excel beyond words. It may not be at an Ivy League school, you may not be in science, but you will end up getting into your two grad schools of choice, in a field you always loved.”
Self-love is so much more than just giving yourself a bubble bath or a spa day (not that I recommend going to a spa during a global pandemic.) Self love is believing in yourself. Find that faith through whatever outlet, may that be religion or spiritual practices. In bleak times like these, when people are losing their jobs, working jobs they don’t want but need to put food on the table, people also need that place of comfort. As much as I resent retail at the moment, my crew is like my second family. Self-love is that optimism that every day is going to be a good day, despite how you’re feeling that day.
Also, if you did lose your job in 2020, that’s NOT your fault in the slightest. Again, we’re in a pandemic.
Self-love is also knowing that better things are out there for you when something doesn’t work out for you. Don’t ever say you’re being scammed by the universe because you’re destined for better things. This is just the universe, or God, telling you that you are worthy for so much better than what you initially applied for, or whatever. Self-love is not being your own best friend, it is being your own advocate.
With that being said, self-love is knowing when you must step away from the negativity that’s surrounding you. If people refuse to be happy, that’s on them. And it’s most certainly not your fault. People are only mean when they are not happy with themselves. Again, that’s on them. Let them watch the negative news when you could be watching “Forrest Gump,” a movie to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Self-love is the most important love you’ll ever have. Like I said, and it was very timely in Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first , that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Well, actually, Carrie Bradshaw said that — but still relevant, nonetheless.
Happy New Year, folx! It is the first full week of 2021 and I am already banging out my resolutions.
My resolutions are the following:
- Walk/run 2,000+ steps every morning (9,000 steps each morning by the end of 2021)
- Turn The April Diaries into a community
- Drink more tea
- Eat organically
- Eat more superfoods
- Get a new job
- Read more books and magazines (I kind of slacked in 2020 😂)
- Drink less alcohol
- Be more open about my spirituality
- Support others.
Those are the big ten thus far. There’s no doubt that list will grow. There’s also no attempt at perfection, but every improvement counts. Stepping stones, guys, stepping stones. Another thing I’d like to do is have more people to interview on this blog. So if you or anyone you know would like to be featured, let me know in the Contact page.
The thing about resolutions is that they are easy to make and harder to create habits to form them. But at the same time, it’s easier to create bad habits. Why is it harder to create good habits? Perhaps it’s not in our nature to have them. Perhaps, as humans, we are destined for imperfection. And perhaps we simply don’t know exactly what it is we really want to attain. Some want to attain that “hot body,” that new career, while others, like myself, or maybe those same people, a degree. And trust me when I say that those “what does your future look like?” quizzes on Facebook are nowhere near real.
I encourage you, however, not to take quizzes that supposedly “determine” your future but to create your own. I love a good challenge, do you? Some call it creating, others call it manifesting. I’ve been trying to be more transparent about my spirituality, recently, and I’ve gotten a lot of support, so thank you for that! (for those of you who reached out!)
Making the most out of a situation is good, too. Despite what’s going on in the USA right now in terms of the upcoming inauguration, our current president, and the horrible domestic terrorist attack on the Nation’s Capitol Building. But I remain hopeful in Biden’s upcoming presidency. I also sincerely hope that my D.C. followers are safe.
Last thing, I did get another job, a second job, if you will. It’s at an Animal Hospital. More details to come later.
xoxoxo April ❤
2020, it’s been a hell of year. But I wouldn’t even put the emphasis on the hell. Sure, COVID-19 took a lot away this year, for some people more than others. The Cheeto in Office finally signed the relief bill (too little too late.) But I’m not here to talk about politics. I will say this: our country may be severely divided, but community is more important than ever these days. I know we’re all sick of the “we’re all in this together” phrase, at this point in time, but my goal in 2021 is to make this blog a community. Life’s too short to be all “me, me, me.” In fact, I try not to make it all about me because I want college students and graduate students to know what I wish I knew and to provide little “philosophies,” if you will.
2020 has taught me more about myself and my capabilities more than ever before, and even more about what I can do with my brand. And it hopefully taught you all to be more appreciative for what you have, rather than focus on what you want. But if you focused on what you wanted, it probably came true in more cases than one. Even though COVID-19 took a lot away from us, I believe it still gave us opportunity for growth. My goal at the very beginning of the year was to gravitate less towards negativity and more towards that growth, and it’s brought me more hope than I had say, back in February or the month of April (yes, I always have to make that distinction between the month and my name.)
Without further ado, here is what 2020 taught me, and hopefully taught you, as well:
- Take no crap, from anyone.
- If people say, “you think life is all roses,” let them. There’s nothing wrong with being happy.
- Grow a backbone, and call out others who don’t have the balls to grow one.
- Graduate school (and college) are times to explore and try out different avenues. When I was in my last semester at RWU, I took a Law and the Family class while interning at a Domestic Violence resource center. And this past Fall 2020 semester at Emerson I took a Book Publishing Overview class, when my concentration is in magazine publishing.
- With that being said, apply to jobs and apply yourself to things you haven’t even considered doing.
- Learn how to fend for yourself.
- Therapy is important and nothing to be ashamed of.
- Being an influencer is not as important as being a good role model.
- Everyone makes mistakes, you just have to have to take responsibility for those mistakes.
- Take that leap of faith, no matter what it is. In fact, only you know what that is.
- Be a positive force in someone’s life. You never know who needs it.
- Also with that being said, be kind because you never know who’s fighting what battle.
- Someone’s success is not your failure.
- In other words, jealousy isn’t worth it, and neither is comparing yourself.
- Also, we all go through life at a different pace, and we go at our own pace.
- Patience and acceptance are virtues. Accept the things you cannot change.
- If you feel like you can change something, ask and you shall receive.
- It’s better to be alone than to cry and agonize over people you’re trying to please. Let them go and stop making excuses for them.
- Be nice to essential workers, from an essential worker.
I was going to put a twentieth teaching, but I’ll leave that one up to you folx. I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but I know that with each year, despite their drawbacks, have many valuable things to contribute. And you have a few wonderful things to add, as well.
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What is your biggest strength and what is your biggest weakness?”
These are questions that often come up in job interviews. Most of the time we don’t want to say what our weaknesses are because we’re afraid our weaknesses will decrease our chances of getting said job. I’ve given different answers to different job prospects, mainly because I feel put on the spot. But that’s a weakness of life; you will have to be put on the spot. It’s called “Socratic Method” in law, at least that’s what Emmett says in “Legally Blonde.”
I started to list my strengths and weaknesses. Some of them included “strive for perfection,” “I want it all and I want it now,” “impatient,” and “headstrong.” I look to Ashley Tisdale’s song, “Headstrong,” and I can’t help but feel as though I want everything right this second.
Overtime you can’t help but feel you’ve inherited strengths and weaknesses from your parents. However, you’re responsible for controlling them. It’s true that we have at least 3-5 vices, depending on who you are. And at the end of the day, you’re your own person and you can’t really blame anybody but yourself if something were to go awry. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying take the blame for everything but taking responsibility for something you know you did is important.) People aren’t lying when they say you have to earn your respect. Others think they’re entitled to it because of their position, status, etc. Did they ever think that’s their own ego getting in the way? That’s a weakness: pride.
Also the whole “sorry I’m a Scorpio” or whatever zodiac sign you are, is complete and utter B.S.
Taking responsibility and being responsible are strengths of mine, as is honesty. Both have earned me mass amount of respect, and that’s not me being “proud.” And this has come at the perfect time since Jupiter is in conjunction with Saturn, forming the actions to slow and to take responsibility for our actions. Did I mention they’ll meet in air signs for the next 200+ years?
But did you notice how, in the beginning of this post, I mentioned my weakness first? This is quite common. And at a job interview, there’s no “right” way to phrase your strengths and weaknesses, unless you know they can/can’t get you the job. Nonetheless, it is quite common to take a piece of paper and just write down everything that’s ostensibly “wrong” with you. But the fact is, there is nothing wrong with you; you’re human. We all have our imperfections, personality-wise. Those who are too proud to say such a thing? That’s wrong.
“An ambitious writer looking for her next adventure,” I type into that big white textbox. I figure I might as well put some aspect of my personality, yet also something clever, into my application for Au Pair Paris. Don’t ask me to speak to you in French. It’s very minimal. In fact, I never took French in my middle school, high school, or undergraduate careers. I was convinced at the ripe age of twelve that I’d be richer if I knew Spanish — right and wrong. Given that in thirty years from now, minorities will become the majority, my near-fluent Spanish hasn’t lasted my transferring to a Rhode Island university.
It’s hard learning anyone’s language, really. But learning somebody’s background/backstory? Why they buy so much coffee? Why they drink so much? Why they’re so impatient? Those are things linguistics can’t teach you.
No, I am no longer considering being an au pair. No, I haven’t been writing as much with the exception of graduate school papers. It seems like I can never catch a break, yet it always feels like I have to write. It’s a little ironic considering I have a book to be published by January 2021. I’ve only ever published fiction once, and that was in And So Yeah magazine. And that’s the thing about magazine publishing — it’s fast-paced and people want new and novel ideas (no pun intended.)
This may or not be a struggle for me next semester as I am writing for Boston Globe Magazine next semester for a class — just a life update. Although, through various internships, I’ve learned how to pitch successfully. It’s harder to get out there than in usual circumstances (i.e. before COVID-19 started and btw there’s going to be a lockdown in Rhode Island starting Sunday, December 20th.) I remember going to artists’ shops in Newport over the Summer two years ago and to Cape Cod last year. I can’t do that until further notice.
But on the topic of writing, writer’s block has hit me harder than ever during the pandemic, and I’ve been struggling to write this book. Thank God I learned the word “curation” in college Aesthetics class (spoiler alert.) But what I’ve learned in terms of regaining that special “spark” is that inspiration isn’t something that you, if I may be so bold, “poop out.” Yes, I just said that. You have to find inspiration. That’s why I walk 1-2 miles every morning averaging at 3,000 steps (not that I’m obsessively checking my health app or anything 😅) I bought hot pink roses the other day at Stop&Shop, so yes, inspiration can cost $8.99 or more.
But with a vase full of roses, you do have to take of them, like you would do unto yourself.
With that being said, the other aspect of it is, and this is where I get real, here — you have to be sober and awake while doing it. You’re not going to get anything out of a bottle of wine. I used to say, “that’s where I get some of my best work!” No. You have a brain, so use it. You rely on yourself and you are responsible for getting that inspiration. Sometimes that does mean waking up at 4:00 in the morning, just to get some words down on paper. Ernest Hemingway would write every morning at 5 a.m. Ernest Hemingway was infamously not a sober individual, but he wrote some of the best essays, short stories, and novels in the history of literature. But nonetheless, you won’t get anything done if you’re drunk and/or tired.
There’s also nothing wrong with getting inspiration out of personal experience. Again, everyone has a story — something linguistics can’t teach you. There’s no shame in being vulnerable with your audience. I remember when I was first being published with the Odyssey Online, I was terrified, petrified, at best. But to be an artist takes not only curiosity but courage to proclaim your truth.
I remember looking at colleges, wanting to be a lawyer with a cool chemistry background. The schools that I was applying to were extremely competitive. I’d be applying to schools with much more competitive attitudes about applying than I ever had.
Now, as a writer with a whole other motive in life, I find it easier to compare myself to other creatives. However, here’s the plot twist: what if I were my own competition?
That, my friend, is the philosophy that I’ve been following in life nowadays. I haven’t fully come to terms with it until today when I was interviewing my Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly. She said she likes to compete with herself every year when entering feature writing contests every year, to see how she improves.
Now, I am at the end of my first semester of grad school, that has taught me more what I wanted to know than anything else (but I guess that’s the point of a master’s degree.) I am beyond grateful to what Emerson offers me, and I am blessed to have taken the leap of faith to write and publish my poetry book. Not only that, but I learned I am a Muckraker, which by definition is someone who uncovers the dirt. In the case of journalism, it’s someone who “uncovers the dirt” in investigations for the sake of reporting and informing the public of what’s going on. I knew this was a phrase already, as I love to playfully troll the page my “fans” created for me on muckrack.com. Who comes up with this? I have no idea. That’s just the beauty of the internet, folx.
I have known school for the past 20 years, now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to give up learning quite yet. But the truth is, you’re learning everyday. You don’t learn from what other people do, you learn by doing, which is the beauty of grad school. Competing and comparing yourself to others, I’m sorry to say, won’t get you anywhere except for defeating your ostensible “competition,” or worse, getting heartbroken over something that won’t even matter in a year, months, or even a week. Not to mention you only damage relationships, that way.
You can’t help but have that expectation of yourself, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get that 100% on an English test (that actually happened to me, yes.) I also have received the full credit on a paper. I’ve had teachers tell me, “you’re really good at writing,” or “you should be proud of this essay.” But I set beyond-unrealistic expectations of myself, and that’s just me. Perfection is indubitably a weakness of mine. But instead of competing with others, like I did in high school track & field, I compete with myself to see if I can do better, to improve myself.
COVID-19 took a lot away from us this year, and the election is upon us (…in just two days 😱) But something Corona can’t take away from you is feeling like you’re taking a trip to Paris. Seriously, practice some French on DuoLingo. Read Sonia Choquette’s Waking Up In Paris: Overcoming Darkness in the City of Light or Age of Light by Whitney Scharer. You could even wear all black and watch Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.” Better yet, if you live in Rhode Island, or if you’re visiting Providence, head down to Pot Au Feu Bistro on Custom House Street!
This Halloween I took it upon myself to wear all black, paired with leopard print booties and took my mom to Pot au Feu in Providence. You go downstairs and you’re welcomed by Bob Burke, the owner, surrounded by an ambience as if you really are in Paris. My mom and I had a table in the corner with a rose perched perfectly in its vase. If tables are close to each other, there is a noiseless, practically silent and unnoticeable air purifier in between tables.
Can we please talk about what I ate, though? PLEASE!
Then to drink, you can never go wrong with a Pinot Noir! So, anyway, if you’re looking to escape your small town in Rhode Island, or wherever you may be and happen to be in Providence, check out Pot Au Feu. Did I also mention that some of the wait staff speaks French? And they’re extremely friendly!? It was a bon soir for sure! Thank you Pot Au Feu for making me feel like I am still walking on air the next day after a delicious five-star meal. 👍🏼✨
Four years… wow. That’s about the same amount of time it takes to complete a college or high school degree. For some of you, it could be a Ph.D program! But everyone goes through life differently, it has it’s twists and turns and rotaries (that’s round-abouts to you, those who aren’t from New England!) It took me a bit of time, but perhaps I already knew, who my target market was. And it’s been all of you reading this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re in high school, college, grad school, or beyond. I mean, hey, I bought my first issue of Cosmo when I was in elementary school! It’s funnier because the issue happened to be the prom dress issue. I’ve accumulated probably thousands of magazines since I was eight years old. Nothing unusual to me, at least.
I tried to start this blog when I left The Odyssey Online in June 2016, but didn’t quite have the words to say, yet. It turns out that a writer isn’t a writer because they say they are. They write because they have something to say — something important to them. If someone else doesn’t like it, that person can “go pound sand,” as my mom would say. My personal experience with writing has been a tumultuous one, at best. However, I didn’t “start over” with writing. I tried again with more experience in the craft.
I posed the question on Instagram, “Do you start over or try again with more experience?” And all of the respondents said, “Experience Necessary.” The same thing goes for getting a job or an internship. People can leave a job for whatever reason. They don’t “start over” in their career, whatever their career may be, though they do have the option to try something different. There’s that word again: try.
You can begin essentially anywhere, but you have to keep trying. I remember trying to film my first YouTube video and I tweeted at Katy Bellotte (whom you all know I admire) “my YouTube video came out like 💩” and she actually took the time to respond to my tweet saying, “Keep trying!” I also remember trying to start a literary magazine. That was a bust. But I used the platform for that same lit mag to create a new one. Yes, I’m full of ideas. Yes, I want to build a magazine empire one day. And I think already did. (Follow @ reallemag on Instagram.)
Say it louder for the folx in the back: I TRIED AGAIN WITH EXPERIENCE! I didn’t necessarily start from scratch. With experience comes the inevitable failure, but you take that failure, forget about it, and you LEARN SOME MORE! For me, I chose a magazine and business track at my grad school. No, I will never give that up no matter what people will try to tell me. I started learning via BonBillo and I have to tell you, it’s an awesome platform to help start and grow your business.
You’re always going to be learning, even when you’re not in school. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true as hell. Think about it, when a poet, like I was in undergrad (and still am on the side), they start out with a rough draft — a really rough draft. Then, they take it to their professor and possibly a peer reviewer. It’s a team. As frustrating as the revisions and [constructive] criticisms are, you end up coming up with something fantastic that can be shared with anyone.
Life is essentially poetry. It can be edited a billion times, you’re going to ask for help along the way, major changes happen, you may regret not thinking of the idea in the first place, but in the end, it’s something you’re proud of.
I realized I never gave an update on graduate school, but I am here to tell you and be candid with you per usual, it has been hard, especially during these uncertain times. Yes, we are living in a pandemic, and I am still following Emerson’s hybrid education model. It is extremely difficult getting back and forth to Boston every Wednesday! Sometimes I wish I only took two classes instead of a whopping three, but that is just the overachiever in me. But everyday I wake up, and I am utterly thankful that I actually get to go to graduate school, that I actually have a laptop that works, even without a battery… long story. Plus, my caffeine-addicted butt gets to enjoy a sip, or a couple hundred, of some caramel or pumpkin spice every stop I get.
I am not here to complain, but it does get stressful. I get home late, but when I am not in Boston, I am working at my local Dollar Store. As I thought about my move four years ago, I couldn’t help but think that every “leap year” has its ups and downs – for some, they may seem like they only have their downsides. October is the worst of it. You can read my blog post Spooky Season = Anxiety Season? But despite what the ghosts of October tell me, I am not going to quit just because it’s that time of month or whatever.
During this time last year in October, I wanted to move to the city. That was a bust from the get-go. I didn’t have a job outside of work-study, I didn’t know how to pay bills (I still don’t), and I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be a lawyer, like I had planned then. Publishing was always secretly in the back of my mind. I didn’t really have a steady plan, to begin with – just hopes and dreams that I prayed would become a reality. I remember waking my mom up in the middle of the night after having a revelation that I would go into publishing, not law. Days later I was accepted at Emerson, and I went against my own will and bought Shiraz. Again, only you have the power to make your dreams a reality.
How exactly do you make your dreams a reality, you may ask?
- A planner does wonders for your organization habits. If your current planner doesn’t already do wonders for you, get a new one! Picking the right planner is like picking the right bra.
- Start every morning with a mantra. Avoid saying “I hope today is a good day,” and start saying “I know today is a good day.”
- If you do decide to move like I tried to, look up Fresh Start – The Moving Crew.
Fresh Start – The Moving Crew does residential moving in Worcester County, and the company originates out of cities like Providence, Hartford, and Springfield. Their headquarters extends out of larger regions such as Berkshires, Cape Cod, Long Island, Manhattan, New Jersey, and even the White Mountains! They do furniture moving, commercial moving, residential moving, and even packing!
Maybe I am just craving that fresh start to my already-fresh-start that is grad school. There were times where I have debated moving to Paris with very minimal French in my foreign language vocabulary. There were times where I have genuinely thought about dropping out of school, but that would mean losing everything I originally wanted to achieve. I didn’t come this far to give up my dreams of working in a big ol’ publishing company. Your dreams really do deserve to be achieved. Do I even need to include a gif of Shia LeBeouf? (If you know, you already know!) When I do make the move to the city in the near future, I will be sure to call up Fresh Start and book my moving appointment.
Moral of the story: you can whine in your blog posts all you want. You can try to manifest your desires using water, or whatever. You can pray all you want, but the thing is: if you want something to happen, YOU have to put in the work. YOU have to put in the mass amount of effort it takes to move, start your own business, and get the grades you want.
(Los Angeles, CA.) – A new skincare brand has stepped upon the beauty scene and is sure to be rolling off of the tongues of beauty fans everywhere! Who might you ask? Introducing HollyHoux, (pronounced “Holly-Who”), that’s who!
The debut of this new luxe skincare line is something that every woman will want to have in their beauty cache and on their vanity tables! Colorfully packaged to appeal to women of all ages and backgrounds (teens and adults from Main Street to Park Ave.), with many items in the collection meeting ‘better beauty’ standards of being Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten and Cruelty-free. ‘Sustainable Beauty’, offering you clean conscious skincare! Retailing in as $25, HollyHoux brings to the beauty round table everything from scented masks, cleansers, toners, scintillating mists and their “out of the gate” best seller, the revolutionary “Cool Liquid Cushion”, flawless skin pact makeup setter!
Hydrating, refreshing and cool to the touch, the “Cool Liquid Cushion” is ideal for every skin type and with “one tap”, women will instantly see a reduction in the appearance of pore size and the elimination of that greasy shine on their first application! Through the use of an innovative “water powder” and the combination of 16 types of herbs, the “Cool Liquid Cushion” does exactly what its name implies; it’s cool to the touch, soothes as it’s applied and provides a soft thin layer of protection giving you the appearance of flawless skin without and that heavy, powdery feel, basically you don’t feel like your face has been caked with product — which is always a good sign!
Founder and owner, Jennie Kim, a seasoned veteran of the fashion industry, says. “The Cool Liquid Cushion concept was born out of my search for a ‘makeup setter’ that would simultaneously conceal and moisturize my skin, living in sun kissed California.”
I live in New England, which is the complete opposite of the west coast. But we like to keep our skin moist, too, especially during the harsh winters.
Formulated with key ingredients extracts such as Borago Officinalis, Anthemis Nobilis flower, Rosehip oil, Menthol, Peppermint and Chamomilla Recutita extract, it took over a year of research and testing before she found the exact outcome she’d been looking for!
HollyHoux also has product sets that every beauty savvy customers will want to get their hands on just in time for the holidays with their cute assorted (and refillable) “Refresher Mist” set!
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on travel in 2020. As we look to 2021, these impacts will continue to be felt in a number of ways. Firstly, continued remote working, and in some cases remote schooling, will upend traditional vacation seasons and blur the lines between working and traveling. Secondly, safety and cleanliness will continue to be top of mind for travelers, driving a preference for private, entire homes over crowded hotels. Thirdly, international travel, especially long haul, will continue to be impacted and finally, having been isolated for much of 2020, people will want to use travel to reconnect with friends and family in safe and controlled ways.
In 2021, travel will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home. Airbnb is ideally suited to meet these changing needs, whether providing an entire home to take a break from the city, to reconnect with loved ones or to try out a new neighborhood to move to. And its platform allows anyone with space to share to tap into these trends and earn some extra needed income.
Based on commissioned survey data of US travelers and an analysis of search and booking data for next year, Airbnb is revealing the top three trends redefining travel in 2021:
Live Anywhere – Taking Life on the Road
In 2021, work from home could become work from any home as remote working continues to be a reality for many people. In the survey commissioned by Airbnb*:
● 83 percent of respondents are in favor of relocating as part of remote working.
● A quarter believe they will be able to ‘live where they want to and work remotely’.
● One in five of those surveyed have relocated their living situation during the pandemic either temporarily or permanently.
● 60 percent of parents are very or somewhat likely to consider working remotely and traveling with their children if schools continue to be disrupted.
● Unsurprisingly, Gen Z’ers and young millennial are most likely to believe they can move to a new location to work or study remotely.
One of the ways travelers are taking advantage of this trend is trying before they buy–turning to Airbnb to test new neighborhoods and cities before making a long-term commitment. From July to September this year, there has been a 128 percent increase in guest reviews mentioning “relocation”, “relocate”, “remote work” and “trying a new neighborhood” in comparison to the same time frame last year.
Of folks who have relocated since the pandemic was declared, 24 percent of them say they moved to a suburb and 21 percent to a rural area, both greater percentages than those who say they moved to cities.* And on Airbnb, people who have the opportunity to work from anywhere are actively booking longer stays (2+ week trips) in small-to-mid-size cities with access to immersive natural surroundings and wide open spaces, including these trending destinations below.
● Park City, Utah
● Truckee, California
● Steamboat Springs, Colorado
● Durham, North Carolina
● Santa Fe, New Mexico
● Boise, Idaho
● Richmond, Virginia
● Greenville, South Carolina
● Indianapolis, Indiana
● Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Redefining the Staycation
As uncertainty persists, domestic travel will continue to be a key trend in 2021, with 62 percent of people interested in taking a vacation within driving distance of home.* Looking back at September 2019 for trip planning in 2020, for US guests, cities like Paris, London and Rome were all top destinations. Next year, a range of domestic locations in national parks, winter ski and beach towns are becoming the most popular, perhaps showing a departure from regular seasonal travel, and a preference for traditional vacation getaway destinations year-round. Some of the top spots include:
● Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
● Breckenridge, Colorado
● Davenport, Florida
● Palm Springs, California
● Tulum, Mexico
Although most travel will remain closer to home in 2021, that doesn’t mean travelers aren’t having new, exciting adventures where they’re staying. Guests are expanding their horizons and seeking unique travel experiences by staying in one-of-a-kind stays on Airbnb. The top trending space types among US travelers next year include a variety of spaces known for using less energy and producing less waste, including:
● Cycladic houses
The shift to more remote and socially-distanced stays is also reflected in some of the top booked space types. Entire homes have officially replaced apartments as the top space type among guests in 2021, providing controlled, private space for everyone. More off the beaten path stays like cabins and cottages crack the top five space types for 2021 trips, replacing villas and townhouses from 2020.
The Rise of Pod Travel
2020 has made the craving for fundamental human connection very real, and this resonates in how people are thinking about travel in 2021. In fact, relocating permanently or temporarily to live close to family is favored by 85 percent of survey respondents.* And, families are increasingly turning to Airbnb as a way to safely reconnect: over the summer, there were three times more wish lists including family in the title than last summer, and that trend has continued to increase with more than 2.5 times the inclusions this September compared to last year.
Whether it means traveling to be close to family members, or reuniting to quarantine with a group of friends, “pod” travel is here to stay for those who want to safely be together while reducing risks associated with socializing with others. For those who have voluntarily relocated this year, 37 percent say it was to be close to family or friends – the most common reason given.* This has become increasingly popular with younger generations, with 61 percent of under-50-year-olds interested in permanently moving and 47 percent interested in temporarily moving to be closer to loved ones.* And on Airbnb, over half of trips searched for next year include three or more people, showing how people are traveling together.
For those who are not hitting the open road, they can still connect with loved ones while apart through Online Experiences. And groups are already finding unique ways to share special moments together, from preparing home-cooked authentic meals, to putting their minds together in virtual scavenger hunts, to sparking their curiosity and creativity through drawing. Some of the most popular Online Experiences groups are taking together from October to the end of 2020 include:
● Living Room Legends Scavenger Hunt Game (Austin, Texas)
● True vs False’ Funny Historical Game (Athens, Greece)
● Cook Mexican Street Tacos with a Pro Chef (Mexico City, Mexico)
● Drawn from Within with a New York Artist (New York City, New York)
● Family Magic Show and Magic Lesson (Chiyoda City, Japan)
Planning for the Future
While travel might look a little different in 2021, future adventures are keeping travelers inspired, with 36 percent of respondents saying they daydream about travel daily or more, increasing to 47 percent amongst people who work from home.* Our research also shows that despite the uncertainty that continues to pervade people’s lives, the more they stay at home, the more the thought of getting out gives them confidence in the future. When asked how planning for a future trip makes them feel, the most selected answer by respondents was simply: hopeful.*
Though travel restrictions are still in place, US travelers are still dreaming of their next far flung adventure, as reflected in the top trending destinations by search for trips in 2021. When the pandemic is over and travel restrictions begin to lift, travelers may be heading to vibrant cultural hubs, idyllic island clusters, and ethereal natural wonders first.
With Copa América postponed to 2021, soccer fans are eyeing Bogotá, a sophisticated urban metropolis also playing host to one of the final games of the tournament. On the heels of having the top awarded film of the year and the meteoric rise of K-pop, Seoul, South Korea is inspiring US guests to one day experience this dynamic cultural capital themselves. Having to push its 200th birthday celebrations back a year, the state of Maine’s bicentennial events and cozy, quaint vibes are inspiring potential trips in 2021. And after months of spending a lot of time indoors, it’s clear island vacations and escapes to wide open spaces are keeping travelers daydreaming. From the white sand beaches of Maafushi in the Maldives, to the enchanting red peaked landscape of Taos, to the striking Italian island town of Ischia (known for its thermal spas), US guests’ worldly travel aspirations are alive and well:
● Bogotá, Colombia
● Seoul, South Korea
● Hampton, London
● Tisbury, Massachusetts
● Maafushi, Maldives
● Maine, US
● Salon-de-Provence, France
● Taos County, New Mexico
● La Misión, México
● Ischia, Italy
*Based on a survey commissioned by Airbnb and conducted by ClearPath Strategies from September 15-19, 2020 of 1,010 US adults.
This holiday season will feel different than years past, with many looking to give back or shop ethically in lieu of traditional gifts. For those who are still looking to find fashionable gifts and accessories, purchasing from the World Vision Gift Catalog is a great place to start – offering a selection of beautiful, artisan gifts for every style of fashionista on your list.
In addition to fighting hunger, injustice and poverty, World Vision is a global humanitarian organization that supports, mostly women, artisans who are fairly compensated for their work, empowering them to seek better lives for their families.
This selection of fashion and jewelry accessories was designed by three female celebrity ambassadors who are joining together to support World Vision’s critical mission; actress Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), TV personality Sadie Robertson Huff (Duck Dynasty and DWTS) and singer and author Wé McDonald (The Voice).
“Unity” Tassel Necklace by Patricia Heaton
- This necklace, handmade by artisans in India, features a 24″ chain, 1.25″ x .75″ gray druzy stone, 2″ silk tassel, and starburst charm. Each stone is unique and varies slightly.
“Bonded Together” Tote by Wé McDonald
- The income from embroidering these fair trade, bonded faux suede and cotton totes helps Vietnamese women artisans with disabilities gain independence. Zipper closure; 16″ x 8″; 9″ drop.
“Circle of Hope” Wraparound Ring by Sadie Robertson Huff
- This adjustable gold-tone brass ring, made by women artisans in India, provides food, education, and more for the artisans’ families.
Supima presents the 3rd annual Supima Design Lab in its very first all-digital format, which will take place on Thursday, October 8th and be streamed live on Supima’s Instagram along with Fashion Network. Once again Supima brings together a select group of up and coming and leading designers from around the world. This year’s Supima Design Lab will showcase exclusive collections designed using American-grown Supima cotton featuring designs by the winner and finalists of the 2020 Supima Design Competition, the selection of the 2020 Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival and by leading International designers.
Created exclusively for the Supima Design Lab, each design showcases the endless possibilities of fabrics made with Supima cotton. Stemming from a commitment to design, sustainable innovation and superior quality, Supima is unwavering in its ongoing programs that create platforms for designers to express themselves despite the challenges of Covid-19.
This Year’s Digital Runway show will be presenting “Made with Supima” Exclusive Designs by…
The Winner and Finalists of the 13th Annual Supima Design Competition :
Amanda Forastieri, Drexel University – This Year’s Winner
Sakura Mizutani, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Jenny Feng, Fashion Institute of Technology
Jennie Nguyen, Kent State University
Terrence Zhou, Parsons School of Design
Kyra Buenviaje, Rhode Island School of Design
Finalists of 35th International Festival of Fashion, Fashion Photography and Accessories of Hyères :
Katarzyna Agnieszka (France)Andrea Grossi (Italy)
Aline Boubert (France)Marvin M’Toumo (France)
Xavier Brisoux (France)Maximilian Rittler (Belgium)
Emma Bruschi (France)Céline Shen (France)
Timour Desdemoustier (Belgium)Tom van der Borght (Belgium)
Selected Leading Designers :
Jean Paul Knott
On Aura Tout Vu
As a special addition to this year’s Supima Design Lab, there will be a round table orchestrated by Benjamin Simmenauer, Permanent Professor at Institut Français de la Mode, Fashion Expert & Brand Strategist. The round table includes a select panel of industry leaders for an in-depth discussion of the Supima Design Lab – From the Fields to the Runway. This year’s panelists include :
Jean-Pierre Blanc, Founder, International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Accessories of Hyères
Godfrey Deeny, International Editor-in-Chief, FashionNetwork
Marc Lewkowitz, President & CEO, Supima
Buxton Midyette, VP Marketing & Promotions, Supima
“We are truly honored to continue working with our SDC Partner School finalists, the selection from the Festival de Hyères and our Leading Designer group. During the pandemic, we knew it was more important than ever to stay nimble and shift the Supima Design Lab into a virtual format to support these emerging designers achieve success in the fashion industry ” — Buxton Midyette, VP Marketing & Promotions, Supima
About Supima :
Supima is America’s premium cotton. Founded in 1954, the Supima brand, short for “Superior Pima,” designates an elite variety of pima cotton sustainably grown only in the West and the Southwestern U.S. It is prized the world over by designers and discerning consumers who value its resilient strength, lasting color and indulgent softness.
Follow Supima on Social:
Something you may know about me, other than the fact I tend to publicize my life on social media, is that I am a HUGE people person, and I love to write feature stories. I’ve done one for my rockstar fashion designing friend, Maria Del Carmen Mercado, but this time I chose someone from my hometown (Medfield, MA) who is killing it as a writer and a life coach. That someone is no other than Victoria Greenwald!
A: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
V: I went to Wheaton College, a small Christian liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois, and I studied psychology, English, and journalism! I loved my experience there, from the classes to the intentional community.
A: Describe your writing career.
V: I’ve been wanting to be a professional writer as long as I can remember! One of my earliest memories is writing a short story on an old typewriter in my basement (it was about 4 superhero middle schoolers. Very cool). I decided to major in psychology in college because it felt a little more practical, but throughout my 4 years I ended up adding 2 writing degrees to my studies and all of my extracurriculars and career pursuits ended up in the writing realm. I graduated college with a full-time job writing at The Everygirl, and eventually launched my own blog after switching jobs. Now, I use writing as a huge part of my coaching!
A: What made you decide to pursue coaching?
V: I went to college thinking I’d be a counselor, as working with people through transitions has always been something I’ve been gifted at. I learned early on, however, that my strong desire to give direction and advice wouldn’t really fit into that job (which is great!), so I shifted career paths. Fast-forward a few years when I left my first writing job to work in full-time ministry, I started a blog to keep up the writing. I realized I liked writing about career tips, so I thought I’d offer a resume writing service, which I hated. It was a terrible move on my part — BUT I learned that for the 15 minutes that I got to talk with my clients about their dreams I absolutely loved. I learned that what I wanted to do was coaching, so I found a certification program that specifically helped me learn how to coach people through a Gospel-centered lens and I’ve been off to the races since then!
A: What are you working on now?
V: Currently, I’m building out my business. I work with clients 1:1 in tailored programs, and I’m working on a self-paced course that’s all about purpose and vision.
A: What do you have to say to those who are working on their spiritual growth?
V: Spiritual growth is a life-long process, and that’s really beautiful. We have an innate desire to be known and loved, and to know and love in return — God is the only being that satisfies in both directions. Pursue Him with eagerness and curiosity, that obedience will never be returned void!
A: What do you have to say to those who are in the writing profession?
V: Pursue excellence. Everyone can call themselves a writer these days, so make sure that what you’re contributing to the written world is of great value. Lots of us writers know that we have a million things to say, so I encourage you to use discernment in saying what needs to be said, not just what can be said (and said well, you wordsmith you). If you’re just looking to get into writing as a profession — practice! Write the kinds of stuff you want to write in the future, even if no one is paying you for it. Interview your friends. Write an op-ed on a political issue. Start a blog! There are many avenues for you to grow and learn. Learn to be self-motivated and pursue being great at your craft.
A: What was your goal, prior to your current vocation?
V: Such a great question — I wanted to be the Editor in Chief at Elle magazine! That was the goal. It’s so funny to see how I’ve shifted from writing for my own glory to writing as service to other women.
A: What has influenced your spiritual lifestyle?
V: I give a lot of credit for my early experiences with Christ to my parents. They love Him and they wanted me to know and love Him, too, so I got lots of exposure to Bible stories and life transformation from them and from my church when I was younger. Once I was off to college, it really became my responsibility to keep following Christ on my own, and He has impacted my life in such incredible ways that I had to keep following Him. He is the reason for my hope, for my joy, for my purpose!
A: What would you say to those who are trying to be as confident and successful as you? Or growing their own brand, like yourself?
V: Confidence comes when you’ve defined success correctly. For me, success is serving my God and the people in my life every day — and the means for me to do that (coaching, prayer, friendship, working at my church) bring me SO much joy. I know that I am a part of God’s incredible plan for the whole world, and that takes a ton of pressure off of my shoulders to be the hero. For the gal who is reading this wanting to grow a brand: remember to only be pursuing things that serve your actual goal. What do you want? Know the answers to that before you start taking action steps.
Big thanks to Victoria for the pictures, as well as the extremely thoughtful and candid answers! You can read Victoria’s blog and view her coaching services here.
Investing in yourself is not only important, but it can also be insanely expensive. This is the second paycheck I’ve gone through (almost completely) to follow my dreams. Yes, I actually have a job that’s not writing-related that actually pays me. No, I do not get paid to write, though I wish I did. I bet that was a shock to you folx.
Moreover, one of the things I invested in, ($179 a month to be exact) is a book-writing class. After getting out of our weekly ZOOM session today, I found myself in the midst of a conversation about the archangel of anxiety: perfection. I preached in a previous blog post, EMPOWER NOT TOWER: “Go big or go home?” Is it really worth sucking on bone marrow? , more or less that perfection isn’t worth losing yourself over.
I can’t help but wonder, why am I so afraid of judgment if I don’t strive to be perfect? The simple answer is: I get judged either way. I shouldn’t say “I,” I should say “we [get judged.]”
I’m the only one in that book writing class who’s still in her twenties. In fact, my twenties are just getting started with me venturing into grad school. What’s funny about that, is public transportation is completely foreign to me, as are some parts of Boston. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, as you all know, but my carefree years took place in small towns. I was completely oblivious to looking both ways before crossing the street. (My kindergarten teacher would not be proud.) In a similar way, I’ve become oblivious to having a plan set out for my book. I confessed today that the “sandwiching” doesn’t work for me. Again, as you all know, I’m like an ocean — choppy and free-flowing… and with a whole lot of depths to my story. So there.
There’s that string of poetry in Jessie J’s “Masterpiece,” those who mind don’t matter/those who matter don’t mind. I’ve lived by those lyrics since my senior year of high school. Those same lyrics apply to those who I am trying to help with my book. Essentially what I mean by that, is (and this goes for all of you future authors out there) your soon-to-be biggest fans/readers are not going to care if you’re some sort of grammar wizard. What they care about, is that you helped them. Take Danielle Bernstein for example. I saw many publishing errors throughout her book, but I still loved her story about how she became a household name in the fashion industry, and among influencers. Her book helped me build “The April Diaries'” baby sister, Candidly Worn. (Yes, I threw in a little self-promo.)
What we concluded with today was this phrase: “This [your story] is not going to be perfect. It’s going to be powerful.”
Every story is different, and you have one to tell!
I remember when I first got a Facebook account, I put Britney Spears’ “Circus” lyrics in my bio: “There’s only two types of people in the world, the ones that entertain and ones that observe.” At the time I put that as my bio at the time not because I was a “budding performer,” but I was constantly feeling “watched.” No, I was not paranoid. However, the unwonted attention actually fed my ego. I wrote it off as jealousy.
I was talking to my manicurist today, and she was telling me how her sweet daughter (though I haven’t met her, she seems like a true gift from God) was bullied for being both smart and athletic. This young woman earned MVP in Lacrosse, Soccer, and Basketball. Impressive right? The parents of other kids were so green with envy to the point where one parent called her a “stupid bitch” on the sidelines. My initial reaction was not just “that’s horrible!” but I did mention how in my old town in Massachusetts, the parents talked more smack about the kids than the kids actually did. And I’m NOT the first person to say that, which is the funny part. But nonetheless, what right does someone have to say such a thing about someone else’s kid?
This made me wonder: why do we live in a world where we constantly judge/are being judged. Why can’t we just simply observe?
Seriously. Let people go on about their daily business. It’s easy to be so quick to judge, but it’s a habit that you can break with ease. I learned how to do it within an hour after watching this video by Isabel Palacios. Like I said in my last post, you are entitled to your opinion without being an a-hole. There’s a huge difference.
Observe because you don’t know what that person is going through internally. Don’t judge because you’re only hurting that person’s self-image and self-love. Don’t say that’s “their problem.” You may feel entitled to judge, but that judgment is fueled by your own insecurities.
I couldn’t write. I couldn’t find the words appropriate enough to describe my anger. I was, and still am, angry at the ignorance, racism, xenophobia, trans-phobia, and everything else that’s BEEN plaguing our society for CENTURIES, even more so than COVID-19. I couldn’t even find a filter for this thumbnail to hide the rash that broke out on my face just now.
I am furious.
My “philosophy,” or I guess “wisdom” behind this, is that if you’re not angry, you’re just not paying attention. Period. And if you’re not “political,” you’re not paying attention.
I can be as angry as I was prior to writing this. Hey, I can write, after all! So, what do I do? I take small steps. 🦶🏼
This includes posting stories to Instagram, writing posts like these, but more importantly, sticking up for what is right and fighting against what is unjust. Four words: do the right thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But there’s a difference between having an opinion and just being an a-hole.
But as I reflect on my own behavior on social media, I realize there were a lot of things that could’ve been left unsaid, especially when I was in high school. We make mistakes — all of us. We get angry, we then regret, and some of us have the empathy to say “I’m sorry,” even if it takes months to find the words. However, the things left unsaid could be either unnecessary, or they could be uncomfortable. And the thing about the discomfort is that it helps us to grow. Even the most uncomfortable conversations are the ones worth having. I’ve known people, and I’ve been the one to cry when they get mad. But that’s when you know you’re, again, doing the right thing.
It’s okay to cry and feel when you’re sticking up for what’s right, especially when it’s for another person or for yourself.
Feels like it’s been a hot minute since I posted! But I mainly wanted to give my voice to those who might seem voiceless during this time. That is why I made my Patreon page. For every patron that subscribes, I will donate $1 to Black Lives Matter Boston. In return, you will get free iPhone wallpaper, desktop wallpaper, resume design, cover letter design, and book cover design! Join for $3 or $5 a month!
So let’s hop on to it! 🐰 What have I been buying in my quarantined time? Also, happy first day of SUMMER for those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere!
- Yoga Mat
Did you know they sell yoga mats for a cheap price at your local Ocean State Job Lot? I didn’t know either! I’ve had mine for two weeks now and it’s still going strong! It also really helps for my ab workout sessions (and bedtime yoga too!)
Who doesn’t love a good cover-up? This helps for your sunburn-self at the beach as well as dressing up any black tank top and jeans combination! Also, who doesn’t love a good snake-skin pattern? You can get one at Walmart for under $20!
3. Fresh new sneakers!
Let’s see, they’re blush-colored and sparkly… could any sneaker be more perfect for me? You can get a pair too at JustFab.com!
4. Steve Madden bag
Yes, my friends, TJ MAXX is FINALLY open! Yay! Yes, I will be using this bag for my graduate classes at Emerson College!
These are only just a few!
Stay tuned for a fashion special!
I never thought I could live without my phone, until roughly two weeks ago when my phone kicked the bucket.
However, I want to speak out on what has been going on in our country. Normally I would take a week to write a blog post, but I muted my social media accounts only to amplify Black voices and to raise awareness. The last time I used my blog for something political was Trump’s election in 2016. Click here. Something else you should know about me is that you may allow me to consider your opinion(s), and who knows? Maybe I might. I’m considered a pretty open-minded individual. Moreover, you cannot take away my voice. So here I am.
The April Diaries does not tolerate bigots, racists, etc. Period. That is how I was raised and I was raised not only liberally, but also to do the right thing. I grew up in 20 out of my 24 years of life in a small, predominantly white town with very little diversity. I was actually shocked to find out that my small hometown actually hosted a rally in defense of BLM. For those of you saying that the protests haven’t been “doing much,” it actually accomplished a lot. It reopened Breonna Taylor’s case, and four officers were arrested for the senseless murder of George Floyd.
Nonetheless, even when I was small, I did not question once whether or not a boy or a girl, a man or woman were of a different colored skin. What mattered to me was that they were human, and they were living and breathing. I’ve been saying prayers for ambulances rushing by since I was in kindergarten, and before that phrase became popular on social media. Who knew Black lives would be taken years after that, if not during my adolescence and I just didn’t hear about it?
I may not be able to fully understand, but I stand, see, and speak with those who are victims of injustice.
As some of you may know, I am officially a college grad. It feels so surreal because I’ve been in school since I was 5! As I write this I remember going into my prospective preschool with my Molly doll from “The Big Comfy Couch.” I also remember going to preschool and kindergarten every day with painted nails and perfume on. Funny how things come full circle, eh? I’m no pretentious ditz, like people made me out to be in middle school. More importantly, how I marketed myself. If you haven’t read Getting Real About Fitting In. SPOILER: Standing Out Is So Much Better I highly suggest you do, because it’s more or less of a “Wish I’d known then what I know now.” In fact, my post grad life has been a “wish I knew then what I know now.” This notion also pertains to college. Don’t get me wrong, my college experience was overall a fantastic experience, filled with growth, friends, memories, with a side of heartbreak(s), the inevitable college weight gain (which made me love my body more), and the big entree: transferring. The dessert? Self-love. Yet again, it is 100% natural to reflect.
What I wish I knew before I started college, and maybe some of you can relate, or at least learn from it include….
- Indulge in your creative side more, especially freshman year.
- If you can, go in undecided.
- Science and math in college are both hard.
- If you decide to tell people you’re switching your major, only tell your best friend and your parents.
- For Pete’s sake, don’t declare a major because you saw it in a dream.
- Taking a gap year is 100% okay. Again, wish I knew that!
- With that being said, if anyone has anything snarky to say about that, there’s that phrase, “those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind.”
- Even if you’re in college and you have to take a semester, or even a year off, that’s okay too!
- It’s okay to not have a boyfriend in your freshman year of college.
- Avoiding your ex isn’t worth starving yourself.
- Stick with learning a language, even if you’re totally FOREIGN to it. See what I did there? 😜 Learn Spanish AND French, if you want!
- Have someone who will tell you that you’re overdoing it with the drinks. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fun/funny drunk, someone still has to tell you.
- Put that elementary school health class knowledge to good use and keep it in the back of your mind that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- That means not getting in the car with someone who’s been drinking, letting someone walk you home, and not getting in the car with someone you met online for the first date.
- On that note, staying sober in college would be worth it. Easier said than done (thanks, peer pressure) but it’s totally fine.
- On another related note, if you’re dating someone and they’re “too tired” to walk you home, make them walk you home anyway and tell them to stop being a wuss.
- Don’t spend all your money on coffee, especially if you don’t have a meal plan.
- Again, on that note, there’s more to cafeteria food than pizza and salad.
- Don’t stay up late studying for an exam. That may have worked in high school, but in college? You’ll cherish sleep like no other, so that’s a NO.
- Practice your writing, it’ll help especially when you declare your major in an English-related field.
- Adverbs don’t belong at the beginning of a sentence.
- M.L.A and Chicago have a not-so estranged cousin: A.P.A. Don’t worry, it’s totally harmless.
- Yes, there are more than two pronouns. Get over it, bigots.
- Go to the gym outside of your gym. In fact, go to the gym period.
- You will learn what it’s like to be a “broke college student,” and yes you will have to explain yourself to people.
- There are some aspects of life you needn’t to explain. You know what those are.
- Don’t expect everyone to understand your circumstances.
- There WILL be people who misunderstand you and why you try to do. Prove them wrong and be ready to argue.
- Find a cause and be an advocate.
- Donating blood is fun and fulfilling!
- There will be a pandemic in your senior year of college that will cut your year short. Don’t worry, since I commute, I didn’t really miss much.
- Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. It’s not abnormal.
- You CAN do anything you set your mind to, even if it does take trial and error.
This is my last hoorah for classes in my senior year as I officially end classes tomorrow (Tuesday — Wednesday for some.) It’s so bittersweet to end classes, nonetheless my undergraduate career this way, especially during a pandemic when you can’t see everybody in person. As you look at the title of this post, it’s true: things do happen for a reason. And in COVID’s case, it started out with a bat. I spent many hours, many days, crying for a reason, and it was simply because I felt trapped in this situation. But we all do in some way or another. This isn’t me being selfish. However, this doesn’t compare to three years ago, when I made the right move for myself: to transfer colleges.
When I found myself transferring to RWU, I found myself “should-ing.” What I mean by that, is that I found myself saying to my mom on accepted students day, “I should’ve applied here for undergraduate in the first place.” I also found myself saying, “I should’ve taken a gap year between high school and college.” Neither of those is true, so I needed to stop saying “I should’ve done this, this, and that.” But who knew that two years in a row, I’d be nominated to speak at Accepted Students Day? I sure didn’t, at the time because I was so miserable. However, that was just the universe preparing me for the best that was yet to come.
The day before an [virtual] awards ceremony, my mom told me that despite my trials and errors throughout my college career and the things I’ve been through, the good and the bad, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all these things. None of these things would have led me to RWU, my best friend, my boyfriend, and my overall happiness. Something can feel like a bad situation to a full 100%, but there many different percentages of how you can handle a situation. In the end, things don’t seem to be too terrible! You will feel a lot of feelings — anger and resentment with a mix of ecstasy, and your “messenger nerves” will have you twirling like a circus girl around your living room. These ostensibly “terrible moments” are actually the universe’s way of saying, “I’m preparing you; the best is yet to come.” Who knows? The “best” can completely blindside you. But a common phrase other than “everything happens for a reason,” that I use is “there’s always sunshine beyond the rain.” Seeds have been planted before the [month of] April rain and look! May flowers!
In short, you’re not stuck nor trapped. You’re just in the groove of blossoming. 🌱
Today’s the two-year-anniversary in which my poetry professor told me I have an “authentic and strong voice” in my poems, which led me to write my 60+ page thesis on docupoetics in 2019. Doing a thesis was difficult but after a heartfelt conversation via Instagram Live with my rock star fashion designing friend, Maria del Carmen Mercado, I came to a realization about writing, in general.
She said to me, take an apple and observe it. If you have to write about it, do it. However, don’t write about what society thinks about an apple. Don’t write about what your family thinks about an apple. What you think of an apple, is on YOU. It’s the same thing with fashion designing, for all my fellow fashionistas out there. You can research and get inspiration from any fashion designer, but what they did has already been done. With writers, it’s the same deal; you can research all you want for your book. But what other authors have already written about is already out there, no matter how much you try to put it into your own words. How do you feel about something like, love? Friendship? Marriage? Genocide? Every president of the United States that’s ever lived and served in Office?
It’s hard to tell what we’re feeling about a certain topic when we’re so influenced by other people. We can have our own opinions. We’re not stupid. And we’re certainly allowed to disagree with other people. Social media definitely plays a factor in how we are influenced. Oddly enough, I had a dream about dresses. Perhaps it’s because I’m not trying to spend my money on clothing, though I did “splurge” on an Emerson sweatshirt that I’ve always wanted when I was applying to graduate school (it was only $42.) Nonetheless in my dream, dresses were being judged. But again, who cares what other people think? Dress up for YOU, girl!
I said this in my very first blog post, The Art of Communication, but not communicating how you, yourself, feel about a topic means losing a part of yourself. Your argument gets lost in a sea full of other people’s second-hand research and opinions. This is especially what you need to avoid when writing a paper. Needless to say, this applies to my English Literature majors who are reading this, as well.
It feels like we’ve lived a full year in the past week, doesn’t it? And it’s only March 19th! So another thing happened, Tom Brady is no longer a Patriot, but a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. I promise this post will be less of a “brain dump” and “trying-to-process” post, like Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself. The past two weeks have been turbulence of emotions and uncertainty. I just got off a Zoom “tech rehearsal” for my Senior Art Studio class, and I have to say, it’s better than nothing.
But other than that, here are some good tips on how to survive “staying at home” which is now referred to by the CDC as “quarantine.”
- Have a Chick Flick marathon!
- Have a horror movie marathon!
- Get take-out from Chomp
- Support artists
- Take a virtual tour of Versailles (I did that in person 6 years ago!)
- Download a book from NYPL
- Take virtual tours of art museums
- Start from a stack of books you have in your room already and work your way down! I recommend anything written by Rebecca Serle, especially In Five Years!
- Learn how to bake and cook!
- Facetime a friend/significant other
- Watch anything on Disney+
- Stop perusing social media so much! This only gets on your nerves more!
- Spend some time with your pets, especially if you have a cat like mine
- Do yoga at home
So, I know most of you are tired of hearing about the Coronavirus. I, personally, do not have Coronavirus, but I think it will be like the H1N1 Virus (which I did have, and no, that was not the bubonic plague of 2009.)
But why do I bring up 2012? Simply because, that, my friends, was the year people thought the world was going to end according to the Mayan Calendar. I mean people thought the world was going to end in 2000 — didn’t happen! It was just simply the turn of a century, which people were afraid of. And it’s no doubt that people were afraid of 2020 — the turn of a decade that we’ve known all too well and have gotten used to. I’ve never taken a look back on the societal norms of that decade, except for my own personal events which you can read about in Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review . I think we are all afraid of change. We expect so much to happen, yet we are brought with bad news all over the place. Kobe Bryant passed away with his daughter, Gianna, along with a few others in a helicopter crash. Tom Brady became a free agent and we don’t know (for those of you who live in New England) if he’s going to officially come back to the Patriots. Schools around the area in which I live have closed and will resort to classes taught online until further notice. The world is scary!
No, change is scary. Let’s put it bluntly, simply, and to the point. Everything is online, including some classes that we’ll need to pursue in order to finish our degrees (for those of us graduating in 2020.) Some people may think I am biased when I say that domestic violence and abusive relationships might be considered normalized — no. This is just simply an analogy I’m using. But the overuse of social media? Very much so. I wrote in a paper for a theology class in senior year of high school, that people act out of fear. Is fear what makes us post on social media? To make out China or Mexico (where the Swine Flu originated) to be such bad places? Is fear what makes us turn away from that one scene in The Blind Side? Is fear what makes us not watch Freedom Writers? Is fear the one thing that stops us from doing what we’re meant to do? Think about it.
“They encourage students to find their own and present it to the world. In the process, Freedom Writers acquire general academic and life skills while becoming responsible for their own lives and happiness, overcoming social disadvantage.”
Plain and simple: we avoid fear to just stay in the comfort zone. The comfort zone is fine, but is that what makes history? Is that what made every woman they are today? Every man, likewise? For all of you, sports fans out there: did Kobe Bryant have this fear of entering the NBA draft? Did Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. ever have this fear of being 199th in the draft for the New England Patriots? Let me know. The point is, we don’t know in hell what the future will bring. There’s that.
Also, title credentials go to the boyfriend, Steve! Check him out at https://www.believeinbostonsports.com/author/stevea1127/
If you’re living in RI, like myself, there are plenty of things to do in such a small state! I’m partial to things to do in Bristol, specifically, so RWU students, take notes!
- Go to Newport
- Go to The Beehive
- Apply for summer internships (tedious, I know, but you’ll thank me later)
- Get a coffee or tea at Empire
- Go to Chomp in Warren (they also do take-out
- Enjoy a night at Aidan’s for some nice, Irish nosh
- Go to Colt State Park (it’s warm all week here in Bristol and less cold on the dock!)
- Binge some “Katy Keene” on CW when you feel like staying in — it’s a GREAT show!
- Read something that you don’t have to read for school! I recommend Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
- Drive to Boston
- Go to a diner for breakfast
- Get yet ANOTHER burger at Judge Roy Bean Saloon
- Drive to Sommerset to get something from SONIC
- Get some bagels! I’ve been obsessed with them recently!
- Pull an all-nighter… without coffee or alcohol
- Eat on Federal Hill
- Go to Seven Stars’ Bakery in Pawtucket or Providence!
- Go to Wayland Square
- Enjoy some French food at Le Central
Did some of these already! Have fun, Rhode-Islanders! 😉 The best is yet to come… could that actually be springtime?
For the past week, I’ve found myself saying out loud, “can’t anyone give me enough credit for ______?” Whether that be job hunting, seeking help, and showing up even when others expect you to quit.
My therapist gave me a handout. And that handout was a story called “The Awakening,” author unknown. I’ve read a lot of stories about ostensible “awakenings.” But this one made me want to watch “A Cinderella Story” for about the hundredth time because it reminded me so much of it. Moments prior to this, I was crying because someone told me “can’t you do something that will make people happy?” And this person tried to trick me into saying they didn’t say this. This had me screaming into my pillows on my couch, and you people would have thought I was nuts. That’s the one “question” I knew I was going to get one day, even though I always do my best, despite my anxiety, depression, and PTSD. THOSE AREN’T LIMITATIONS, EITHER.
What I am learning right at this very moment is that there are people who want you to fail. There are people who want the worst for you. There are people who are going to be jealous of you. There will be people who disapprove of what you do. There will be people who have opinions based on their own insecurities. It’s a rude awakening, indeed. But the fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t matter to you, even the better of us who know better. As the internet philosopher Katy Bellotte says, “Nothing hurts unless you let it–” that was one of the first things I heard her say when I first started watching her videos.
Oddly enough, what I said after said person said that unbelievable comment was, “I knew I would never get your approval.” As if I ever really needed it. That goes to show, careful what you say, or it will end up in a blog post, or worse, my memoir. C’mon, there’s even a sticker on my laptop that says that, so you should know by now. I’m not being vindictive, it’s called having self-respect — enough to stand up for yourself and do things for yourself. I once apologized to someone after saying, “I have way too much respect for myself as a woman and a human being to be led on…” Why did I do that? Was it human nature in me to be empathetic? Maybe it was the need for approval after hurting someone? What the hell am I even saying right now? I didn’t validation from someone who led me on! However, and this the human nature part, evil really is in the ego and could make you think you did something wrong when you did, in fact, do something right.
What I’m essentially trying to say is that you can have a support group, but know your boundaries. There are some people who will cross some of those very fine lines. You may or may not have to let people in more. You may or may not have to say “f*** it.” As I said in my very first post, The Art of Communication, self-awareness is key. I learned all this by researching social media posts for RISC. Even social media wants you to be healthy! Who would’ve to think that? Speaking of social media, stop comparing yourself to other people.
Do you ever feel like you doubt your career path? No, I’m not doubting mine (again, thank God), I KNOW I’m going to be a lawyer, just not right away. And by right away I mean I’m going to LAW SCHOOL in Fall 2021.
As I am listening to a Katy Bellotte podcast, I’m remembering that I randomly brought up my blog to a friend of mine in my art history class (hi, Amanda!) That’s something I normally never do, unless I feel 100% comfortable with you. (I showed Steve my blog when we first started talking, so that alone says a lot about us!) One thing she asked me is if I ever get “Imposter Syndrome,” to which I said, “yes and no,” and went on to say that I wanted to be an influencer and promote all of these brands that would never give me the time of day. But really, I want to influence people to be the best version of themselves. Improving yourself does not come from an article of clothing, though it is nice to build those sorts of connections with people who own clothing and jewelry lines.
This was me about two years ago. I wanted to be an influencer. But the only way to make an impact was to influence people to make a difference; this is especially true if you’re a college student like myself. I worked a “Table Time” the other day, and it dawned on me there are the people who are willing to be, as one person said, “a part of the community,” other people are just there for the mass amounts of chocolate spread out on the table. As some of you know, I do a lot of sexual violence prevention work. It’s more than a hobby for me; it’s a need to make a wave.
I talked about this a little bit in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus, but I am SO afraid of tests that I actually have test anxiety — yes, that’s an actual thing which is why I have extra time on tests assignments — something that people are so ignorant to, it drives me nuts! Thus, I was afraid of taking the LSAT, and trust me that no book could tell me to “calm down” and “it was going to be okay.” Being on the Student Senate, however, being my mother’s daughter, and knowing my own potential taught me that I got this. But being “high functioning” and needing extra time on things is another story that I don’t have time for.
It’s the unfortunate art of overthinking that tells us, “no you don’t” or “you don’t have this, this, and that to succeed.” Yes, you do. There’s no such thing as “oh, this is an [insert major here] job” or “this job is only for those who have worked in a law office.” Then why would these jobs be posted on Handshake? Or whatever your school uses for job-hunting? Who cares if your major is Creative Writing and you apply for a Legal Assistant job? (Yes, I did that via LinkedIn.) We, “creative writers,” can do anything we set our minds to, such as thinking creatively and independently. Don’t doubt us for even a minute.
In fact, overthinking got me thinking about my own job history. I used to think I was “too good” for a job like working at Dunkin Donuts, Sip ‘n’ Dip, etc. (I spent my teenage years in Massachusetts so I didn’t even know what Sip ‘n’ Dip was — LOL.) But it wasn’t even that I thought I was “too good,” it was more so that I had so much, even infinite potential. In fact, in my sophomore year of high school, I was applying to be an intern for Boston-based fashion designers. All the letters I got back said that they moved. Really? Even Giselle Bundchen started out scooping ice cream and became a (now retired) Victoria’s Secret model! She didn’t even need to be Tom Brady’s wife in order to be a household name OR make money. She makes more money than her husband!
Just know that you aren’t “stuck” in your dreary job forever. And don’t let self-doubt be your reason for why you didn’t do something to benefit your life.
And that’s the tea. 🍵
Contrary to what I said two years ago about ostensibly “hating” Valentine’s Day, I actually have always loved this holiday. Even when some kid in fifth grade said “a lot of people throw Valentine’s cards away,” I said, “I save them,” which prompted another kid to say, “seriously?” Why not? People paid money for them, and even if they were “obligatory,” they still had some thought behind them.
I even remember being in elementary school and hating the idea of love, even though I secretly had a crush on Cole Sprouse during his “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” days with his brother, Dylan, Brenda Song, and Ashley Tisdale.
Hey, um, elementary school April? Did you even have experience with love? No. You won’t even have your first love until you’re 19.
I love this holiday because it’s the one day, if not every day, that you can express your gratitude for someone you know. (I’m not saying I particularly “liked” anyone in elementary school.) The thing is, when you show gratitude for someone, they’re willing to do more and vice-versa. It’s more or less of a give-and-take game.
Maybe I was just a closeted hopeless romantic. I remember one of the only things I wanted after the eighth grade was to have a boyfriend, not that I was desperate. I was yearning for the real, romantic-with-a-mix-of-friendly love that I didn’t quite get till now (i.e. my current boyfriend — hi Steve!) On that note, I am grateful to the love I share with him. Despite the last two “chapters” of my life, nothing was quite so meaningful until him.
I feel like I’m fulfilling my Carrie Bradshaw “status” in writing about love. But the truth is, love has no set definition. It’s all that you make of it. It’s not always what you see on television and in the movies. It’s challenging, but it’s a good challenge. It’s funny because it actually is give and take. It’s not really about sex, either, which is not in accordance with popular belief. Some choose to wait, and some choose to do it. But either way, communication is also key to conveying what you want. In fact, I felt as though it were just tonight that my boyfriend and I were getting to know each other all over again. Whatever it was, it felt right.
My point in all this is not to conform to popular culture, or what seems “cool.” In the end, it’s all about what’s right for you.
Ahh, the things you do when you wake up at 5:30 A.M… draft a blog post that will actually help people? While watching “Sex and the City?” It’s like sophomore year all over again!
One episode of “Sex and the City” deals with 30-something-year-olds dealing with 20-something-year-olds. Carrie Bradshaw, being in her thirties, proposes the question, “Friend or Foe?” My first answer? Being a 23-year-old, WE’RE STILL LEARNING HOW TO NAVIGATE LIFE! GIVE US A BREAK! My second answer, maybe if you looked back on when you were 23, and what you knew, you’d empathize with us. You’re probably looking back on the mentors you had when you were in your twenties. These mentors could’ve been anybody. If you’ve just started college this past fall, or if you’re in a gap year, these rules of thumb should apply to you; you’re not left out! I said a lot about college in For the College Student(s) Having Doubts but there’s more where that came from!
- You don’t have to be a double major because it sounds cool.
- You don’t have to have a boyfriend freshman year.
- A “C” really isn’t that big of a deal.
- If you go to your professors with personal problems, you’d be amazed at how understanding they are.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and question EVERYTHING. That is your job as a college student, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, make that argument.
- Not every professor understands mental health, but it is just as important as physical health. If you’re in a situation where a professor is ignorant of a mental health concern, tell somebody.
- Join a physical activity, no matter if it’s intramural or not.
- With that being said, try something new! Like a sorority or something.
- Internships are not only cool, but they give you a “leg up” in the real world.
- You will cherish sleep like no other.
- If you’re not 100%, or even 99% in love with your college, transfer.
- End of February-mid March and October are by the far the worst times of the school year. Why? Midterms! But the hard work will pay off.
- Don’t let anyone call you stupid, not even your closest friends.
- If any underclassmen give you shit, just smile and say “that’s cute/that’s cute you think you can intimidate me.” They should not be treating college like high school.
- Seek out that upperclassman you’ll look up to.
- BE the upperclassman that students look up to, for the right reasons.
- It’s 150% okay if you don’t “party.”
- If any high schooler from home asks if you “party,” tell them that’s not what college is all about.
- Getting drunk is yet another thing college isn’t about. The last thing you need is a hangover.
- PLEASE call your mom and/or dad, or your brother and/or sister. They miss you.
- PLEASE use your work-study to your advantage! Otherwise, it just goes to waste. Plus, it’s extra money in your pocket.
- You will have that mentor through work-study/payroll whatever you have! They’re important and will teach you everything you ever need to know.
So the final answer is, we twenty-something-year-olds want to be your friend! When in doubt, think of me as your mentor 😉 No, I’m totally kidding. But going into my second semester of senior year starting TOMORROW, these are some of the things I learned throughout my college career.
“Thoughts are the seeds of action.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thoughts do not dictate reality, however. In fact, in my opinion, and in my journey through spirituality, our masculine energy (or “the thinker”) makes us crazy! It’s simple: we think too much. We need to learn how to feel and tap more into our feminine energy.
We are now settled (most of us, I hope) into a new decade and year. We are out of the stressful holiday season, and into the new year. As some of you may know, I’ve been practicing ways to further my spirituality. But I have to admit, it scares me at times. I’m not trying to be a psychic, but I’m just saying, as someone with chronic anxiety, it really can be nervewracking. The fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t be so nervewracking that you start to overthink. I was even thinking about the concept of overthinking while I was making ramen and eggs (which tastes DELICIOUS!) I came to realize, you’re basically setting yourself up for self-sabotage.
Why are you questioning what’s already right in front of you?
Now, I am addressing why I can’t ever seem to “make up my mind” about my career, until just recently. And by “recently” I mean last week. Here’s the thing, though: I’ve always known I wanted to work with domestic violence victims, which is what I’m doing. There. I know what I want, I just needed to stop overthinking. In fact, just writing this post brought me back down to reality. Everything is fine. Repeat after me, everything is fine. Inhale, exhale. AND JUST BE GRATEFUL. Write it down, do something because you are doing great. You don’t even need a psychic to tell you that.
Moreover, I am fulfilled completely as-is. Don’t question whether or not the universe has your back or not. You also need to have your own back. That isn’t to say other people won’t, but trust me, you’re good!
One of the first things Ricky Gervais said during his opening monologue (with a rather large alcoholic beverage in tow — this just goes to show how much people like to get plowed at the Golden Globes), was not to make any political remarks. But let’s be real, was anyone going to take that seriously? The answer is no. In fact, the Golden Globes, for as long as I can remember, have been a platform for celebrities to encourage viewers at home to not only vote but to take action politically. The 2018 Golden Globes especially, everyone wore black for the #TimesUp movement.
Everything that these celebrities said, especially Michelle Williams’ speech on the importance of women voting, was said with intention. The word “intention,” often shortened to “intent,” is not a word thrown around quite often. The words “letter of intent,” appear a lot on graduate school applications, though, as well as job applications. As I am writing this, I am thinking, what do people intend to do with their master’s? Ph.D.? Blog posts? Such as this one?
For me, my intention when writing is to inspire. There will never be a day where I stop writing or creating. It’s scary that in just 16 days, I will be a second-semester senior. The feeling of it is just starting to dawn on me. Do senior scaries exist? Let me know.
I realize I’ve gone back and forth throughout my college career; what to major in, what clubs I want to join, whether or not I wish to go to graduate school, to study abroad (which I didn’t end up doing), and more importantly: what I want to do for a career. What I am coming to the conclusion is that I want to keep riding my pathway to help victims of domestic violence.
Another question that comes to mind is what is my life’s intention? Easy. To help. So, in the words of Robin Williams’ (R.I.P.) famous character, John Keating:
“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
Well, what would it be? What will you contribute?
I’ve always been a dreamer, as a kid. My “goals” in the first grade were to have three cats and live in Disney World — only to have that dream come true on Olympic Day 2013, at my high school, when I dressed up as Sleeping Beauty/Aurora and I lived like Belle: always with a nose in a [chemistry] book. I had two cats at the time. No, I did not live in Disney World.
Even in first grade, I dreamt about finishing college. I’m less than 180 days away from that, as we speak. The first time I ever had to put that on a halt was Spring 2017. The one thing I was never 100% sure of, was what I’d be doing for a career.
I can tell you this: when I first started college, I thought I’d be an oncology doctor until I was getting a warning grade in Biology and I switched from major to major. Everyone knows by now that I study Creative Writing, nonetheless at another college than I started at. With that major, everyone expected me to be an author or an editor. I thought about being an editor for a while, only to find myself on Student Senate.
I honestly don’t remember how exactly I came to be a “future lawyer,” all I know is that I want to help people.
I learned from a fellow Instagrammer that in the end, I take ownership of my life and what I do. I don’t need anyone to nag me that I need to pick a career right away, which is why I feel better about taking a year off. All I need to have is a plan B, C, D, etc. I can tell you right away that plan B may not work out for me as planned, but maybe plan C will!
Sometimes bloggers need life advice, too! But no one is going to tell you what to do, that is if you let them rule your life, which no one has the power to do.
And that’s the tea. ☕
“As I sat in the booth of Quito’s with my mom, we decided to cheer, or ‘clink glasses,’ [I wasn’t yet, 21] to no regrets.”
This was written around this time three years ago at the beginning of what I like to call “Book 2,” a.k.a when I switched my major to English and I was still at SAC. Now, I am 23 years old with a whole new mindset, law school applications, and more!
I am reminded of the same “Sex and the City” phrase every single day: “You can’t stop being who you are because you’re afraid.” For those of you who have been there with me from the beginning of this blog, you’d know that I started this blog shortly after a tumultuous and insidiously controlling breakup. I basically lived a “Sex and the City” lifestyle, minus the infamous sex. (For clarification, I’m still a virgin). This includes dying my hair a dark brown and giving myself a whole new “look.”
One fellow writer of mine posed a question on Instagram not too long ago that asked, “when you die, would you rather be remembered in small snippets of someone’s memory or a statue?”
Remembering this question, and I’m not trying to be morbid, but that me that I was referring to in that last paragraph was just but a ghost of all the women (or girls, considering I’m in my early 20’s) that I used to be. I’m listening to Katy Bellotte’s latest podcast episode of “Thick & Thin,” appropriately titled “Feeling hopeless & redefining yourself.” That me that I was referring to certainly felt hopeless and tried to redefine herself from “so-and-so’s ex-girlfriend” because I certainly did not want to be known as an accessory. Katy alludes to her ever-popular YouTube videos, and she, too, mentions how she changed.
Let’s face it, she and I both graduated from the “cutesy talk,” and we both discovered alcohol come college. However, she did also say there is no shame in being vulnerable, which is something I’ve learned to preach, as well. And as we age, we really do change! Time moves us onto bigger and better things, and we learn, develop, and edit. What mattered a year ago doesn’t matter to me anymore. What mattered two years ago no longer matters, and so on. It’s all about how you redefine and market yourself, as I mentioned in Getting Real About Fitting In. SPOILER: Standing Out Is So Much Better.
That me wanted to be who I am today. I just had a friend tell me that my Instagram makes her happy because I don’t put up any fronts and that I’m all about spreading positivity — hi, Allie! I have my moments, who doesn’t? Whoever doesn’t have their moments is clearly robotic.
Moreover, I realized who I am, and I have the stamina and motivation to fulfill that persona. Except, I don’t have to be a persona. I may not be the same person I was 2-3 years ago, but I am me. In fact, things are going so well that I lost track of what book I’m on. Quality, not quantity, people!
Hello, (A)pril-listers! April here with my first post of the month of October (mainly procrastinating two essays! Yikes! I’m here, to tell the truth about October. October has always been my “worst month,” but it hasn’t been completely terrible beginning in 2017.
October is not only pumpkin spice season, but it is also known as “spooky season.” That term has been thrown around a lot since October’s beginning. But could this ostensible spooky season also be known as anxiety season?
There is no doubt that I suffer from anxiety; I’ve been very open about it. The one thing I get anxious about the most is uncertainty, and this is especially true this week as I spend my free time in between classes prepping for the LSAT. I have narrowed down to [lucky] three law schools. But that is beside the point. October seems to serve as a crucible for students, like myself. Did I mention it’s also Mental Health Day? Perfect timing, April! 👏
My mentor/professor was right: sometimes I do bite off more than I can chew, as they say. In fact, I sat in my therapist’s office, eyes barely open to let tears come streaming out of them. I was exhausted from being super busy. Needless to say, I had to cut one major activity out of my life, which was a shame because I wanted to try it and hopefully make a difference. But as it turns out, I already was making a difference in making my campus safer, one step at a time, according to another mentor of mine. I could go on about how “hustle culture” is extremely toxic and only leads to the inevitable “burning out,” which I have done on more occasions than I can count on ten fingers.
How one perceives of October is a choice, and it’s all about how you make of it. It’s not a fact that October may be a s**tty month because it’s merely a statement of opinion. When you say something often enough it becomes true. This is a manifestation procedure, as said in spiritual terms. It is your choice to make the spooky season less “spooky” and less “anxiety-provoking.” As I sat down with one of my mentors, she mentioned that you have to have self-care methods, this may include a mental health day as well as a cup of green tea with milk and sugar. It just goes to show that talking to people helps, too! I certainly don’t need a degree in psychology to know that there are methods for dealing with each emotion.
Moreover, enjoy “spooky season” while it lasts, and don’t let it become an anxiety season. If it does, use your resources and always ask for help when needed.