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The Fashion Diaries: What I’ve bought since I’ve been home

The Fashion Diaries: What I’ve bought since I’ve been home

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!

  1. 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!)

2. Kimono

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!

P.S. don’t mind my messy desk!

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!

xoxo,

April 💕🥂

Losing a phone cannot compare to the lives lost to police brutality

Losing a phone cannot compare to the lives lost to police brutality

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.

What I wish I knew before starting college

What I wish I knew before starting college

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 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….

  1. Indulge in your creative side more, especially freshman year.
  2. If you can, go in undecided.
  3. Science and math in college are both hard.
  4. If you decide to tell people you’re switching your major, only tell your best friend and your parents.
  5. For Pete’s sake, don’t declare a major because you saw it in a dream.
  6. Taking a gap year is 100% okay. Again, wish I knew that!
  7. 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.”
  8. Even if you’re in college and you have to take a semester, or even a year off, that’s okay too!
  9. It’s okay to not have a boyfriend in your freshman year of college.
  10. Avoiding your ex isn’t worth starving yourself.
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. On that note, staying sober in college would be worth it. Easier said than done (thanks, peer pressure) but it’s totally fine.
  16. 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.
  17. Don’t spend all your money on coffee, especially if you don’t have a meal plan.
  18. Again, on that note, there’s more to cafeteria food than pizza and salad.
  19. 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.
  20. Practice your writing, it’ll help especially when you declare your major in an English-related field.
  21. Adverbs don’t belong at the beginning of a sentence.
  22. M.L.A and Chicago have a not-so estranged cousin: A.P.A. Don’t worry, it’s totally harmless.
  23. Yes, there are more than two pronouns. Get over it, bigots.
  24. Go to the gym outside of your gym. In fact, go to the gym period.
  25. You will learn what it’s like to be a “broke college student,” and yes you will have to explain yourself to people.
  26. There are some aspects of life you needn’t to explain. You know what those are.
  27. Don’t expect everyone to understand your circumstances.
  28. There WILL be people who misunderstand you and why you try to do. Prove them wrong and be ready to argue.
  29. Find a cause and be an advocate.
  30. Donating blood is fun and fulfilling!
  31. 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.
  32. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. It’s not abnormal.
  33. You CAN do anything you set your mind to, even if it does take trial and error.

Stop “should-ing” yourself because everything happens for a reason

Stop “should-ing” yourself because everything happens for a reason

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. 🌱

xoxo,

April 💕

 

 

Take an apple and put it in your own words

Take an apple and put it in your own words

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.

15 Things To Do To Survive Quarantine

15 Things To Do To Survive Quarantine

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.”

  1. Have a Chick Flick marathon!
  2. Have a horror movie marathon!
  3. Get take-out from Chomp
  4. Support artists
  5. Take a virtual tour of Versailles (I did that in person 6 years ago!)
  6. Download a book from NYPL
  7. Take virtual tours of art museums
  8. 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!
  9. Learn how to bake and cook!
  10. Facetime a friend/significant other
  11. Watch anything on Disney+
  12. Stop perusing social media so much! This only gets on your nerves more!
  13. Spend some time with your pets, especially if you have a cat like mine
  14. Do yoga at home
  15. Meditate

Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself

Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself

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.

xoxoxo,

April 💕

Also, title credentials go to the boyfriend, Steve! Check him out at https://www.believeinbostonsports.com/author/stevea1127/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8cfbBgXIow

19 Things To Do On Spring Break In RI (budget-friendly)

19 Things To Do On Spring Break In RI (budget-friendly)

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!

  1. Go to Newport
  2. Go to The Beehive
  3. Apply for summer internships (tedious, I know, but you’ll thank me later)
  4. Get a coffee or tea at Empire
  5. Go to Chomp in Warren (they also do take-out
  6. Enjoy a night at Aidan’s for some nice, Irish nosh
  7. Go to Colt State Park (it’s warm all week here in Bristol and less cold on the dock!)
  8. Binge some “Katy Keene” on CW when you feel like staying in — it’s a GREAT show!
  9. Read something that you don’t have to read for school! I recommend Such a Fun Age  by Kiley Reid
  10. Drive to Boston
  11. Go to a diner for breakfast
  12. Get yet ANOTHER burger at Judge Roy Bean Saloon
  13. Drive to Sommerset to get something from SONIC
  14. Get some bagels! I’ve been obsessed with them recently!
  15. Pull an all-nighter… without coffee or alcohol
  16. Eat on Federal Hill
  17. Go to Seven Stars’ Bakery in Pawtucket or Providence!
  18. Go to Wayland Square
  19. 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?

xoxoxo

April 💕

 

Stop Looking For Validation From Others | Evil is in the Ego

Stop Looking For Validation From Others | Evil is in the Ego

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.

source

 

 

 

Self-Doubt, Influencing, Overthinking, and Jobs

Self-Doubt, Influencing, Overthinking, and Jobs

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 anxietyyes, 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. 🍵

xoxoxo,

April 💕

 

 

Not Such A Bad Thing To Fall In Love

Not Such A Bad Thing To Fall In Love

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.

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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.

 

Things You Will Learn In College, As Told By A Second Semester Senior

Things You Will Learn In College, As Told By A Second Semester Senior

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!

  1. You don’t have to be a double major because it sounds cool.
  2. You don’t have to have a boyfriend freshman year.
  3. A “C” really isn’t that big of a deal.
  4. If you go to your professors with personal problems, you’d be amazed at how understanding they are.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Join a physical activity, no matter if it’s intramural or not.
  8. With that being said, try something new! Like a sorority or something.
  9. Internships are not only cool, but they give you a “leg up” in the real world.
  10. You will cherish sleep like no other.
  11. If you’re not 100%, or even 99% in love with your college, transfer.
  12. 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.
  13. Don’t let anyone call you stupid, not even your closest friends.
  14. 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.
  15. Seek out that upperclassman you’ll look up to.
  16. BE the upperclassman that students look up to, for the right reasons.
  17. It’s 150% okay if you don’t “party.”
  18. If any high schooler from home asks if you “party,” tell them that’s not what college is all about.
  19. Getting drunk is yet another thing college isn’t about. The last thing you need is a hangover.
  20. PLEASE call your mom and/or dad, or your brother and/or sister. They miss you.
  21. PLEASE use your work-study to your advantage! Otherwise, it just goes to waste. Plus, it’s extra money in your pocket.
  22. 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.

 

“Wait, Let Me Overthink This.” Raise Your Hand If You’ve Ever Been Victimized By Overthinking.

“Wait, Let Me Overthink This.” Raise Your Hand If You’ve Ever Been Victimized By Overthinking.

“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.

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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!

xoxo

April 💕

Word of the Year: Intention | What will you contribute?

Word of the Year: Intention | What will you contribute?

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?

 

No one’s going to tell you what to do

No one’s going to tell you what to do

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. ☕

xoxo,

April 💕

Certainly Not the Same

Certainly Not the Same

“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!

 

 

Spooky Season = Anxiety Season?

Spooky Season = Anxiety Season?

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. 

Week In The Life of a Blogger/Busy College Student!

Week In The Life of a Blogger/Busy College Student!

It has been two weeks since I posted a blog post. You can definitely say things have been busy according to the April Diaries! With that, it is the last weekend of September which only calls for something I promised a long time ago… a week in the life!

Monday

11:00AM: Work-Study! My job is being the editor-in-chief of the English/Creative Writing department zine, “Voices.”

*Depending on the day, I also work table times for clubs and Student Senate*

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

6:30PM: Student Senate meeting!

In between class and Senate, I have time to do homework or go home and chill for a while.

Tuesday

9:30AM: Advancing Public Argument class!

11:00AM: Another work-study meeting!

12:00PM: LUNCHTIME! I usually get a Chicken Ranch Wrap or Sushi.

2:00-3:20PM: African Literature class! I have been waiting so long to take a course like this!

3:30PM: Get (a billionth) coffee of the day. Have you ever had the Pumpkin Spice Chai from Starbucks???

5:00-6:20PM: Math class! As mentioned in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, I’m taking (guess what) College Algebra!

6:30PM: Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment Eboard or general meetings! I serve as Vice President of the club!

Wednesday

11:00AM: CPC (Community Partnership Center) Publication meetings!

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

2:00PM: Academic Affairs meetings! This counts as one of my Senate committee meetings.

3:00PM: LUNCHTIME! (Late, I know).

4:00PM: Finance meetings! This is another one of my Senate committee meetings.

*Depending on the Wednesday, I usually have to go to meetings of clubs I represent, CPC full-staff meetings, RISC or Title IX meetings*

Thursday

9:30AM: Advancing Public Argument class!

2-4:50PM: How to Write Your Novel class! This is one of the classes I have to take as a Creative Writing major.

5-6:20PM: Math class!

8:00PM: Hawks’ Herald Eboard meetings (though I am not technically a part of their executive board, I still have to go because I’m their Organization Senate Representative). This is also the school newspaper (that I took a break from) but I chose to write for them, again!

(Fabulous) Friday

9AM-12PM: My advocacy internship at Day One Rhode Island!

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

2-3:20PM: African Lit!

3:30-4:30PM: Senate office hours!

Finally, let the weekend commence!

Saturday and Sunday

The weekend usually varies for me. Saturday’s I’m most likely doing homework, studying, writing, or hanging out with a friend or two. Then Sunday is the day I set aside to hang out with my boyfriend (hi, Steve!)

 

 

The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra

The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra

Yesterday morning, before I went to campus for class, I watched a Hummingbird gracefully and peacefully without melee, go from one orange flower to another. There’s something about Hummingbirds that’s very underrated. Growing up, I admired how beautiful they were, despite my natural adherence to birds. They surprisingly don’t creep me out! Hummingbirds are iridescent and no one would even think to harm them because they’re just simply “doing their thing.”

After looking up their significance and symbolism, (that’s just the analytical writer in me bleeding out), they actually represent a lot more than we realize. Just take a look at this site I found: https://wootandhammy.com/blogs/news/hummingbird-meaning-what-does-a-hummingbird-symbolize-spirit-animal-meaning

Hummingbirds can fly backward as well as hover up and down. We, humans, have a tough time being able to “fly” at all. There’s this lyric that I love to quote, “sometimes you fall before you fly.”  I keep forgetting that song is essentially the “theme song” to a Disney Channel Original Movie with the same name (spoiler 😜). I haven’t seen that music video since, what, second grade? This not only reminds me of being in an elevator but also of algebra and dancing.

Let me start with algebra before I get into dancing. I wasn’t always good at math. I then realize I had it in my mind that I wasn’t good at math because I haven’t done it in a while (3 years to be more specific). I have a lot to learn in College Algebra, I’ve found from taking a knowledge test. This morning as I was finishing up the first lesson, I had flashbacks of my eighth-grade algebra teacher breathing down my neck and saying, “you need to pay more attention to details.” I wound up completing the entire lesson with a few minor setbacks. Why? Because I wasn’t paying attention to the small (but important) details. The same thing goes for dancing. I was selected to choreograph a dance this semester for Dance Club. Shortly after I completed the lesson, I began to “map out” where my dancers would be and where on the stage they’d be traveling during the course of my choreography. It’s hard! But it’s like algebra: a form of problem-solving. And if you get one detail wrong, it messes up the whole dance! Both can be tough, too. But you have to practice, practice, practice, and seek help when needed.

Referring back to the beginning, as a Hummingbird is going from one flower to another, they are determined to find the sweet, savory nectar beyond the tedium of the roughness and the toughness of a flower. Flowers have layers, too! (Not to mention tough layers). I can name so many times where I’ve said to myself (doing algebra) “this is so tedious!” But how are you going to understand it, if you don’t go through the whole process of solving a math problem? When I did the Boston Ballet camp the summer before my freshman year of high school, I thought the conditioning before the actual ballet lessons were tedious. How else is your body supposed to be ready to dance if you don’t warm-up and stretch?

Skin is tough, and there is that phrase, “thick-skinned.” But guess what? You’ll be able to do a pirouette and floor-work, and even get an A in math because you did the work! Who knew?

THE FASHION DIARIES: Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Oodles of VINTAGE

THE FASHION DIARIES: Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Oodles of VINTAGE

It’s been a hot minute (more like almost a YEAR) since I posted a Fashion Diary entry, which is ironic because I’ve written my own personal journal entries practically every day this summer.

Despite PSL’s being back at Starbucks, along with the Maple Pecan Lattes and the newly-raved-about Pumpkin Cold Brew, summer is not quite over yet. Wait until Monday, September 23, guys! My summer fashion choices have been relatively laid-back, with the occasional dress or two, or three. 😜 It wasn’t until recently when my grandmother sent my mom and I packages of clothing that didn’t fit her anymore. For those of you who know me well, I love vintage fashion. So, needless to say, I was fascinated by my grandmother’s impeccable taste.

The first thing that caught my eye was a black and white polka-dotted dress

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***Please excuse the dirty mirror and, of course, the mirror selfie***

Then there’s the makeup look then went with it:

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Not only do I adore fashion, but I am a HUGE makeup junkie. This is actually the same lipstick that Audrey Hepburn wore in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It’s Revlon’s “Pink in the Afternoon.” The blush, bronzer, and highlighter are from IT Cosmetics and the eyeshadow is from Bare Minerals!

The next thing that caught my eye was a long skirt:

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It’s hard to tell what the pattern is, but rosewood is one of my favorite colors (number 5 to purple, blue, pink, and red). You can’t even tell I’m wearing a skirt and top because it all flows so well! The top is from H&M and the shoes are from ZARA.

Then there’s the makeup look that went with it:

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With natural waves (my hair is actually straight, but if I sleep on it when it’s wet, it gets wavy), and the right lipstick, I rocked this look with confidence. The lipstick is Colourpop x Disney’s Tiana. Shout out to my best friend (hi Katelyn!) for surprising me with it!

 

 

EMPOWER NOT TOWER: “Go big or go home?” Is it really worth sucking on bone marrow?

EMPOWER NOT TOWER: “Go big or go home?” Is it really worth sucking on bone marrow?

It was a Tuesday morning and I woke up an hour later than intended. I wanted to get up early, put on some makeup, and put on a cute dress to take over the createHER Collective Instagram story for the day. That didn’t happen exactly as planned, but I handled it better than what my expectations were the previous day.

I ended the night signing off to watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” but also signed off with a whole lot of new perspectives on empowerment and the phrase, “go big or go home.”

The first time I ever heard that phrase was on my very first day of high school when one of my teachers talked about the time she broke her vegetarianism to eat a huge burger — bone marrow and all.

But should we really go by this phrase? The answer is no, and I’ll tell you why.

I remember going by this phrase when applying to undergraduate schools — didn’t work out! I followed this phrase when I started submitting my poetry and artwork to the top literary magazines in the country — didn’t work out! That’s when I started looking at smaller publications that I never even heard of until I joined Twitter again. Those definitely worked out (and helped me build a killer CV to use for grad school apps if I do say so myself.)

When looking at graduate schools too, for my MFA, I had that same superficial outlook that I had when I was a junior/senior in high school. I wanted to apply to (and googled) “Best MFA schools in the U.S.” But coming from a “small-but-bigger-than-SAC” school like RWU, who knows if I even stand a chance? What I learned, especially from being in the [insert 2 Ivy League schools here] applicant Facebook groups, just because they are ostensibly the “best,” “top-tier,” and “among the elite,” that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.

My point in bringing up undergraduate and graduate institutions is that it’s not worth gnawing on your thumb right to the bone marrow to prove yourself — to anyone or anything. I was reminded of a poem I wrote:

Perfection is a weakness of mine

To be honest, when I was in high school, I strived for perfection and I’ll be honest it gave me a little OCD!

I’m trying to gnaw on this idea of being perfect;

I chew it down right to that savory bone marrow

until there’s nothing left to even suck on anymore—

at this point all I’m doing is sucking on that

circular piece of bone. The bone is in my right thumb

and I’ve sucked on it so much to feel like I’ve lost

all feeling.

 

Perfection is like sucking on a piece of bone marrow—

you cleanse it of all the meat and the cells that go with it,

until there’s nothing anymore. It becomes addictive,

like a fidget toy. People tell you you’re doing great by

cleaning it and getting all the necessary juice to make you

feel manly, accomplished, whatever. Then you become

addicted to being perfect and receiving that praise.

Even when you feel like you’re unappreciated, just know that you’re doing a great job and people really do appreciate what you do and how hard you work. If they don’t, it’s their loss!

Moral of the story: PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE!

 

The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose

The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose

I’m starting to realize why writing for a living can be tough. Often times, I denied that fact and thought I could do whatever it takes. But I’m not giving up, even though it really is hard and can make you feel a tad manic. I’m not trying to be an Ernest Hemingway, who was a quote-unquote “abusive alcoholic.” And yes, I just quoted “Ten Things I Hate About You.”

For those of you who don’t know, I recently published an eBook of poems. No, this is not a “self-promotion.” This is where I get real. Again, unfortunately, it may an eBook for the rest of its existence. It wasn’t the way I wanted it to come out, mostly because I was trying to self-publish with little to no money. In fact, I published it without spending a dime! I personally don’t know of any authors who self-published and were successful, except maybe Rupi Kaur (correct me if I’m wrong.) Self-publishing is hard! Really, it is. You know what’s harder? Making it as a writer. I’ve had trouble making it as a blogger!

Everyone knows the story of J.K. Rowling and how she got into writing. If you know me, you’d know that I am a sucker for literature and the authors that compile some of the greatest works of all time. I write this as I look at my unread copy of War and Peace sitting on my shelf along with Moby Dick and On the Origin of Species, all of which I am determined to read and conquer one day (or within multiple days.) Two summers ago, prior to starting my career at RWU, I read Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen excessively. Like myself, Hemingway was a budding journalist before realizing he wanted to write creatively.

I remember when I was still at SAC, my Spanish professor heard me quote Ernest Hemingway (in Spanish) and she strongly encouraged me to write for the campus newspaper. This was a week after I started this blog. Again, as I’m writing this, she’s not the only one who recognized my talent in writing. How am I just realizing this? I don’t know.

But Hemingway was more than an alcoholic, even though it was highlighted in some of the characters of his novels and short stories. But that’s the thing with us, writers. We build based off of personal experience, which may seem like it’s hard to write at times. Coming up with content, even for a blog, is hard. There are touchy subjects that need to be shared in order to empower. Hey, I think I just came up with my reason for #WhyIWrite. And that’s just the thing! You write for a reason, no matter if it’s sports journalism, technical writing, grant writing, travel writing, creative writing, etc. You write because you have a purpose on this planet. That’s the same concept of why people teach young minds, serve in the military, etc. — you have a purpose. Any profession is hard, but you’re doing great.

 

 

Conquering Anxiety And Achieving Well-Being, Overall

Conquering Anxiety And Achieving Well-Being, Overall

In “Sex and the City: the movie” Charlotte mentions to Carrie she hasn’t been running because her anxieties about life are stopping her. I remember when I wrote Fitness, Fashion, and Time Management, I was in a terrific state both physically and mentally, ultimately providing myself with a healthy lifestyle by working out (almost) every day and getting a salad and drinking plenty of water. Come to the end of that semester, I found myself falling off the rail and into some (very) unhealthy habits. This was due to the stress of finding a job and taking a whopping SIX CLASSES two semesters in a row. This only led me down the rabbit hole of doubt. It wasn’t until the end of the Spring 2019 semester, that I learned the importance of balance (which may seem like a course on repeat.)

Balance is essential. Mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand and balance each other out. Your education, relationships (with yourself and other people), work, and overall well-being need equal attention, which can prove itself to be difficult. No one is 100% “on top of their sh*t” 24/7. Nobody’s perfect. Life happens. But it’s important, like I said in Empower Not Tower: It’s Okay To Fall Sometimes, As Long As You Can Pick Yourself Back Up Again — the title speaks for itself! And can I just say that drinking a lot of coffee and/or alcohol does NOT help? It doesn’t. In fact, it’s actually self-medicating.

The best kind of medication without making yourself sick is 1) tea and 2) therapy. Tonight I saw a tweet by a fellow writer who was struggling with health anxiety and (for ladies, only) period stuff with accompanying physical ailments. That accurately described what I was feeling this afternoon (and prompted me to write this post.)

On the topic of therapy, I see my therapist every two weeks, just to check-in. I’ve been going to therapy since I was a freshman in high school. I’ll be honest, there were extended periods of time when I ignored therapy and didn’t make appointments. Let’s be real, a diabetic doesn’t not take their insulin because they “don’t have time.” With mental health, it’s the same concept. I remember when I used to always keep saying “I don’t have time,” and “I don’t have time to ‘make time!'” For this, this, and that, I kept using that same excuse. In fact, when people told me I needed to make time, I got pretty annoyed it hit a nerve. Now, I’m understanding the importance of it.

This brings me to my next point: you can as they say in the movie, “Tammy,” “bitch and moan” about something, or, you can do something about it. As I used to preach all the time in my Insta-stories, if you want something to happen, YOU 👏 HAVE 👏 TO 👏 MAKE 👏 IT 👏 HAPPEN.

NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!!!!!!

Nothing is impossible, remember that. And as to paraphrase what it says in the Bible: “The LORD helps those who help themselves.” Life is truly a blessing. So live it to the fullest and in the healthiest possible way.

This is an example of what I like to call a ROUTINE:

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No, you do not have to get up at 5:30 AM unless you’re really feeling ambitious. But a routine helps to ease the anxiousness.

In fact, by the time this goes up, I will be in bed getting my beauty sleep and getting up at a good hour for a jog.

Thank you for listening to my “Ted Talk.”  😊

xoxoxo,

April 😘💕

School Starts Soon (Plus Healthy Tips On How To Stay Organized and ‘On Track’)

School Starts Soon (Plus Healthy Tips On How To Stay Organized and ‘On Track’)

It’s that time of year again when back-to-school commercials start airing on television and everyone is dreading the thought of going back to school, no matter if you are in middle school, high school, or college. I’ve grown from being that nervous-as-hell first-grader, not knowing what to expect to the point of tears to actually loving the first day of school/classes!

I value my education more than anything in the world, and it’s become imperative for me to get the most out of my college education. No, I do not mean partying. [What may surprise some people is that I’m not exactly a “party girl.”] I’m not shaming anyone who does, but I’m telling those high schoolers who read my blog that it really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and not what college is all about, no matter what films try to tell us.

Nevertheless, what I mean by getting the most out of my college education is getting involved and getting good grades; then there’s the occasional “letting loose.” One thing I’ve learned, as said in Burnt Out, is how to stay organized. I mentioned in that particular post that I was constantly tired — not because of the 8:00 AM Management classes — but because I didn’t have a set schedule nor did I have a to-do-list and often gave into my anxieties and napped a lot. I’ve come to realize that having a set and pre-filled agenda is a must-have when you’re a [busy] college student. Thus, I went to CVS on a whim, bought an extensive agenda, and filled out the month of August to the best of my ability.

Take a look:

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Bullet journals help, as well. Plus, they’re extremely fun to fill out!

But don’t forget to fill in time spent with friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, and family! Needless to say, I’m not even close to being done filling out the month of August, yet. And this is just August — wait till you see my upcoming “week in the life” coming in September!

If you do find yourself burnt out and exhausted while doing homework, go for a run/walk, grab yourself a smoothie, coffee, soda, etc. and get back to doing your work. On that topic, it’s important to nourish yourself throughout each and every day, without breaking your budget, of course!

Be productive. It’s okay to fall off the rail once in a while and just be bored and sit in one place, so that’s why I chose what I explained in The Two Tips To Achieve Self Love, and to have something to do each day, aside from classes. Go to the gym, volunteer, or read a book (yes, those still exist. Reading is fun!) Yes, I will be posting weekly in accordance with my schedule. It’s not enough just to think about what you’re going to do every day; you need to write it down and it will happen. It’s like making yourself a promise, as well as manifesting, which I touch upon in Self-Care and Spirituality Tips. Mercury is luckily out of retrograde this time around, so no worries here!

As always, I wish you all Godspeed and best of luck in school, no matter what year/grade you’re in.

xoxo

April 😘💕

 

A Reflection: The Girl Who Has Always Wanted To Write, Even If It Kills Her

A Reflection: The Girl Who Has Always Wanted To Write, Even If It Kills Her

Can you believe the year is more than half-over? It’s officially August 1, and I still can’t believe it. There are twenty-seven more days until I start my ~official~ senior year, and it hardly feels real! As I’m getting ready to apply to… get ready for it… GRAD SCHOOLS, I’m starting to realize what I really want to do — what makes my heart sing. I said in It’s Time To Speak Up About Creativity, that I’ve been diving into my creative side a lot more this year (and for the past two years of college, for that matter.) #CreativeWritingMajor

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It was my second-grade teacher who first recognized that I loved to write. In fact, it was one of our spelling words and she said as an example, “April loves to WRITE.” I remember getting those Scholastic book order forms and my mom wanted to rip me apart for just wanting journals. Don’t get me wrong, I like to read, too, as it helps me with my writing. In fourth grade, I might’ve been the only one in my class to write six-to-ten pages of a story because I had so much to say, and so much detail to convey. However, I kept saying my favorite subject was math.

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I kept denying my teachers’ comments that math wasn’t my favorite. But they could see right through me. More importantly, they could see my proficiency in writing.

Looking back on that past self, why would I lie to myself like that? If I could just shake that fourth grade April and just tell her to admit that she’s not great at something, I honestly would. But even fourth grade April knew she liked to write, but just wouldn’t admit it for some weird-ass reason. One of my poems was used as an example for future classes! I remember that poem; it was called, “What is a Wish?” To this day, it was one of the best poems I’ve ever written.

Even when I wrote my first short story in first grade, I dreamt about college. In fact, the story took place after I had just finished college. Well, I have a year to go and I know this: I want to write. Always have, always will. I read this great article in Cosmopolitan about a woman who was determined to make a living out of writing. Never have I ever read a story and said, “this is me. I want to do this.”

I randomly look back at old Theology assignments, particularly from junior year, and I came across this excerpt:

As Jesus once said, “make use of the talents God gives you.” Now, I look back on my past and laugh about what character I tried to portray because that was not my God-given role.

I have had various hopes and dreams about what to become, as an adult. I am always curious about what college or university I will attend. And, I always thought that I would have to face the future alone. But I do not. God will be with me, guiding me every step of the way. God will plan my future with me. God will not let me throw away any of the work I have done, the talents I have obtained throughout the course of my life, or the grace I have received because He already has a plan for me: to study medicine. God knows where I am going, but He wants to surprise me. If I do not get into the college of my dreams, God will be crying with me. No matter where I go to college, or in life, God will always be by my side. God will help me make good decisions throughout the rest of my life. God will feed me the education that I not only received in school but the education I received from my past experiences in order to make those good decisions. I am, and will continue to be, a child of God.

I don’t mean to bring religion into this, and yes I did just cross out “to study medicine.” But let’s just say I was indeed surprised at myself throughout my college career and what I could do.

I am that girl who made books with computer paper and staples.

I am that girl who ever so badly wanted a laptop so she could write whenever she wanted.

I am that girl who sat at that old (now broken) desktop computer that I shared with my family members to write stories, only to be unfinished for years on end.

I am that girl who wrote essays so long they might as well be published.

I am April Frances Federico — the girl who has always wanted to write, even if it kills me.

Living La Vida De Moda: Maria Del Carmen Mercado

Living La Vida De Moda: Maria Del Carmen Mercado

A year ago when I wrote an article called Meet Local Fashion Designer Maria Del Carmen Mercado for my internship. We’ve been in touch since I sat down with Maria in Dave’s Coffee Shop in Providence, but I decided to write a follow-up article (a whole year later) about the Dominican Republic-born, Providence-based fashion designer.

“I didn’t choose fashion, fashion chose me.”

Maria recalls the days where her career as a designer, and essentially, a creative began: “My story of a fashion designer or creative began as a child, where I would sew the clothes for my dolls and my friends’ dolls, and everything around me was usually transformed into dolls.  For example, mango seeds. I would usually paint a face on them with nail polish and they would become my dolls. [My] business also started early; I would make doll clothes and trade them for candy or coins.”

Her curiosity for fashion and particularly the art of movement peaked when she was in high school. “I was involved in after-school art programs and activities.  But it wasn’t until high school where I started to work after school in a clothing store.  I also modeled with two agencies and started to draw clothes.  During this time I became very curios why the clothing that I loved never fit correctly so during my time in my job I would put close attention to the fabrics that I handled, the details of the clothes but most importantly, I would ask myself how would I change the garment to make it fit me the way I liked,” says Mercado. And because of this experience, she likes to work with clients to give them the perfect jacket, wedding dress, bathing suit, etc that fits them just right.

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After graduating high school, she received a scholarship to attend the Rhode Island School of Design pre-college program (concentrating on fashion), where she built a portfolio and eventually got into her first-choice college: The Fashion Insitute of Technology in New York, New York where she graduated as a fashion design major in 2007.

“Fashion is a form of expression, my own personal way to see a shape or garment.  It is my way to represent a body’s figure.  To me, fashion is away of life. Things become shapes, color and structure.  It’s a way of putting attention to the details around me.  For example, my opinion on politics, history and culture. Fashion is thinking outside the box. It is knowing when to listen to your intuition and being able to recognize what is and isn’t there.”

If you are thinking about a career in fashion design, Mercado does have a few words of wisdom for you: “First I want to say that fashion is NOT what you see in the magazines, another word is NOT just glamour.  Just like a doctor or engineer, there are certain things that a fashion designer needs to learn.  In my opinion, to be a good fashion designer, I feel education is key.  Even if you are wealthy how would you communicate what you want to the pattern maker or the seamstress or most importantly, how would you know the difference between a patterned sleeve or a skirt?  To be a fashion designer there are so many components that you need to learn that you can’t learn by watching youtube channels.  Pattern making, draping, fashion illustration, color theory,  are just a few things that are a must for a fashion designer.”

Mercado continues: “to be a great fashion designer you need to be adventurous, willing to take risks and be different.  Learn to look within yourself and make decisions that YOU feel that work.  You need to have the confidence to turn off the voices and follow your heart.  I feel that the best direction is to design what I feel is correct NOT what is trendy.  I believe that you can’t teach someone how to be an artist but they can learn the technical side and the best way is through formal education.  Being an artist is seeing and feeling beyond what’s there, how can you teach that?”

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When asked what her favorite part of being a designer was, she said she enjoys every aspect of it! But that isn’t to say, that there aren’t times when she doesn’t have creator’s block. When she does get creator’s block, she doesn’t go by what other people are creating or what’s “in style,” at the moment. She just moves on to another project or takes a walk to recharge and refresh her mind. That also isn’t to say that she doesn’t get critical with herself, either, which she said is a weakness of hers.

“Although I am much better now, but it took awhile to realize that no one is going to give my brand 100% but me.  MDCM designs are my feelings, the way I see things, my way of life.  Realizing that no one but me could convey this has helped me a great deal, most importantly excepting that perfect does not exist.”

With that being said, in the fashion world, one is always learning, making mistakes, taking risks, and finding themselves through their work!

To view Maria’s website, click here  and to shop, go to http://www.mariadelcarmenmercado.shop! Thank you, Maria, for the interview and for your powerful, impactful words of advice!

***Photographers of the design images are @gabinichi and @denzzzadd from ristudio504.com — check out their work! 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to Find the Perfect Internship — I Did!

How to Find the Perfect Internship — I Did!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sprinkled by Kristen: Meet Kristen Bauer, the Baker!

Sprinkled by Kristen: Meet Kristen Bauer, the Baker!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxo,

April 😘💕

 

 

Self-Care and Spirituality Tips

Self-Care and Spirituality Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

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

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

xoxoxo April 💕✌😘

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

― George R.R. Martin

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine

FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I may not have read The Alchemist, yet. But I know one thing to be true: I am just another up-and-coming “Girl-Boss” trying to make her way through the world she has barely even experienced, just to find that treasure. And by the “world,” I mean the world of the digital age coexisting with publishing. That’s right, publishing, my dream job.

It has dawned on me while searching my brain for topics to write about that I have never discussed my “dream job” with you all. I remember when I was in kindergarten, I had a collection of dolls called the Pop Dreamers, who were based on Disney princesses. One of them kept repeating, “dreams are just wishes and wishes come true.” And then there’s the song, “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes,” from Cinderella. I even recall writing a poem in fourth grade titled, “What is a Wish?” I wish I still had the poem, first of all. But that was when I first started writing poems and had a knack for it. If it weren’t for that stupid 86 I got on that book of poems in sixth-grade English, I would have continued to write poems.

This may or may not be a cliché, but college is all about discovering yourself. It takes some people less time than others, and for some, it can take possibly a whole lifetime! No matter if you choose to go to college or not, you will find your treasure in the depths of the Egyptian Pyramids, or somewhere more realistic. For me, it happened to be about rediscovering yourself through the odyssey of resilience (that’s actually a title of a poetry book that I WROTE coming out in 2019.) If you know me well enough and have seen my incessant self-promos on Facebook, you’d know that I wrote for a platform called The Odyssey Online — manager found my work to be so impressive that he made me the editor in chief! All of this stuff about journalism and writing came back to me. Even in fourth and fifth grade, I was a part of the Newspaper Club. At the time, what I found to be my “passion” were stuffed animals, particularly Webkinz and Shining Stars. I wrote about what I knew at that time, did some investigation to find out what was the “Webkinz favorite” of Dale Street School (yes, I was the mastermind behind that.)

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be interning for Rhode Island Monthly (do I bring that up a lot? Yes, yes I do. Don’t like it? I don’t care, it’s my life) and even taking on a web manager position for the English and Creative Writing department and managing editor position for our soon-to-be online magazine, Voices. Even though I have a full year left of college (I graduate December 2019), I am in the process of looking at grad schools. Also, you may congratulate me because I am officially a first-semester-senior!

Anyway, as I was doing my search, I have concluded that I want to start my own magazine, or start out small and work my way up to being an editor. No, I do not know what it’d be about, but again, it’s about working your way towards it. I’m going to use that redundant phrase, dreams don’t work unless you do right in this very sentence, because I think it’s quite relevant. If you want something to be a “hit,” you have to make it a hit. In the end, it’s all up to you. It’s okay to get second, third, and even ten opinions, but your destiny meets you. It’s like what my mom always tells me, “always have a Plan B; I’ve gone as far as Plan K!” I certainly will not know what I’ll be doing after December 2019, but I have the amazing help of everyone on my side. Seek help, if need be. In fact, scratch that, it’s imperative that you ask for help.

 

Cheers To Two Years Of This Blog

Cheers To Two Years Of This Blog

First of all, HAPPY TWO YEARS TO THIS BLOG! Remember when it used to be “Redheaded Ambition?” I do, too. Second, thank you so much to the readers who have been with me throughout this journey of expression. Thank you to my parents (especially my mom) for giving me this idea, and especially to those who encouraged me to keep writing.

I remember when I first started this blog, I was not in a good place in my life. But this was a point where I was starting to become my own person and not give a f**k about what people would think about me/my decisions, and I’ll be honest, some decisions were better than others (e.g. dying my hair a dark brown — yikes!) Yet again, we are human.

I’m at a much better place in my life right now and am truly enjoying the work I’m doing. I also remember when writing this blog, I was trying to be THE boss-ass bitch by doing everything I could’ve ever done with my time. I remember looking at a photo of myself wearing a Madrid baseball cap, green plaid scarf, typical black leggings look with Hunter Boots holding a pumpkin spice latte from Dunkin Donuts sticking my tongue out, and I couldn’t help but think: “I’m in a new place (literally), with a new mindset, with the same deep-red nail polish and same coffee obsession.”

I remember writing The Art of Communication and thinking about how angry I was while initially writing it that summer. Then came the day I started this blog and I was actually ready to put it out there.

Also, while reflecting, I’m going to be honest (as always.) I went against what I preached in THE FASHION DIARIES: Wedding Attire And Getting Real About Love and tried a dating app (I’m not going to say which one.) My advice after the ordeal I went through this past month? Don’t do it. Never would I ever have thought I’d be the one to break things off with a guy, but my other piece of advice is KNOW.  YOUR. WORTH. The reason why I didn’t post this on time was that of this guy who took advantage of my precious time. It’s actually super funny because whenever I’m in my last full year at a school, I have “things” with guys. Moreover, my job as a blogger/influencer/woman is to empower other young women (and even men) that may be going through what I have gone through.

Moral of the story: thank u, next (best song EVER.)

Another funny thing? I was going through something like this two years ago when starting this blog (different circumstances, of course.) I always compare myself to Carrie Bradshaw, but in this case, I feel like Miranda because she, like the rest of the “quad,” are powerful women. But my favorite thing about Miranda is that she never accepted anything less than she deserved.

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And going off of that gif, she never apologized for her success. 💪 One more thing before I wrap up this blog post is that she has supportive friends. And I’m beyond thankful for each and every one of my friends who has supported me throughout all areas of my life.

I love you all, and from now on, I’m dedicating myself to empowerment and, of course, writing!

xoxo

April 💋❤

 

 

Learning How To Say ‘No’ And Learning What You Want Out Of Life

Learning How To Say ‘No’ And Learning What You Want Out Of Life

This hasn’t really been my week, I’ll be honest. But you know what they say, the dark brings out the stars. Light has always been a motif in my life. In fact, my horoscope for today said, “don’t feel bad about wanting more.” In some cases, you need to push for what you want, which often means sacrifice.

If you know me, you’d know I always say, “October isn’t my month.” It really isn’t. No matter how much I love fall, the leaves, the weather, and even people start to show their true colors. I can’t help but think to myself, “do I really love fall? Or just the fashion and the pumpkin spice lattes I can get at Starbucks?” I had to ask myself a different question last week, but in a different context: “do I really want to write about fashion?” Needless to say, I wound up quitting my fellowship at CFashionista, but no worries, I’ll still be writing about fashion in my school newspaper.

Another thing: I took it upon myself to schedule a phone call with a graduate student at a prospective graduate school I really want to attend once I graduate from RWU. After sitting in countless senior seminar poetry classes, I’ve come to realize that the one thing I truly love to write is… guess what… POETRY.

I rediscovered poetry December 2016, when I was in the process of transferring colleges. It helped me cope with a lot that was going on in my life. (My poetry portfolio will be coming out within the next year or so, I figure.) Moreover, I’m planning on pursuing my MFA in poetry after I graduate.

Pursuing poetry as a concentration meant saying “no” to fiction writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love both; but poetry is my strongest avenue. This is where I’m going to get into saying “no,” when you need to.

I often call myself a “people pleaser,” which doesn’t necessarily work out for me. But in reality, you have to learn how to start saying, “no,” especially if it’s something you don’t want to do. I laugh as I write this because I’m remembering this Jimmy Fallon clip of Kevin Hart being scared shitless of Robert Irwin’s animals. No joke, I’d be scared, too. But like a lot of people, I have a problem with saying “no,” at times. Saying “no” will end up working out in your favor, when necessary. We know what we want, we’re not stupid.

So, moral of this blog post, don’t be afraid to say “no,” because, in the end, you’ll learn what you really want out of life. That goes for absolutely everything. Need I say more? I think not.

xoxo,

April 💜

Burnt Out

Burnt Out

I know, you’re thinking “it’s only week four (five now) of classes. How could you be burnt out?”

As I was typing the words, “burnt out” in the title, I looked at it and said, “has it really gotten to this point?”

As I sit in the atrium next to the Starbucks on campus, I am busy submitting poems to potential magazines and thinking about what to do next. Do I get lunch? No, not quite yet. Do I submit more poems for consideration? No, wait till you generate some more. Do I do work? Yes, April, you should OR you could write another blog post.

I wrote a blog post a while ago called Fitness, Fashion, and Time Management. Maybe this is just me, but I think that my time management is more up-to-par in the second semester. I’m sitting here yawning my like no other (mostly because I woke up at 6:30 to get ready for my 8 a.m. Management class.) I want to yawn some more just saying, “I have an 8 a.m. class Monday, Wednesday, Friday.” Yup, there I go again.

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Anyway, I’m not here to talk about how tired I am (constantly), I’m here to talk more about time management so your head can stay clear.

My morning routines (particularly Monday, Wednesday, Friday), I wake up at an ungodly hour, get dressed, get my usual venti-iced-white-mocha at the campus Starbucks and go to class. Since I commute to campus, I usually go home a half hour after my class. But today, I’ve decided to stay the entire day to catch up on work.

While I don’t have a set to-do list, I do have a consistent plan to get sh*t done. That means having a killer attitude even when you’re absolutely cranky. A constant theme I’ve noticed in the podcasts I listen to is the idea of “faking it till you make it.” To me, what that means, is faking it until it becomes reality. Last Thursday, I was so cranky and burnt out that I refused to take a joke or even smile. But then my mom, oddly enough, made me laugh about a Nacho Mama’s delivery car or something. (Nacho Mama’s is a Mexican place in Bristol). And I actually smiled!

But as I write this portion two weeks later, I have my sh*t together, and I even completed my first exam of the semester! (Pray for me, it was Management). Another thing: I started dancing again, and I completely forgot how much I loved it. Being a part of a team/club (or two, or three) really gives you balance, plus you discover what you’re truly passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. But dance has been my first love since I was three years old. (Thanks KD for persuading me to come to dance last Wednesday.)

That goes back to my theory about balance. Balance is a necessity of life, and even if you think you’re so busy, you actually can make time for your friends and the things you love. My friends and my mom keep telling me, “you need a hobby outside of writing.” I think I found it ☻

 

Thoughts On Being Taken For Granted

Thoughts On Being Taken For Granted

I’ve seen a few posts on Facebook about this topic, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on this unfortunate subject on being taken for granted.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not have to be perfect, but I do not deserve to be treated as less than I am. As a woman, I believe it is not my job to aspire to marriage. However, when (or if) I do decide to get married or be in any relationship, I refuse to be taken for granted.

As said, I watched this video on Facebook about a husband and wife. The woman does absolutely everything around the house, including getting their young daughter to school on time, making lunch, and even making her husband’s favorite dinner, which he completely rebuffs because, supposedly, the house is “filthy.” He asks his wife, “what did you do all day?” in retaliation. Are you kidding me!? 

We’ve all been there — no matter if you’re male or female. It feels like we do everything for someone or a group of people and they just completely rebuff our efforts to please them (I’m not talking in a sexual way.) Or, they simply don’t think what you’re doing is “enough” (that could actually be taken in a sexual context.)

When I first started this blog, I turned to one of my favorite principles: “If you can’t take it anymore, then give.” I’m certainly not who I was two years ago when I wrote my first blog post on “the Art of Communication.”

There are times when I definitely feel like my efforts aren’t good enough for other people. But the thing is, and I encourage you all to do this: do it for yourself. About a week ago, I led a community connections trip for incoming freshmen at RWU, and I must say, bonding with the first-year students was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I didn’t apply to be a site leader because it’ll “look good on a resume,” I did it because service is a huge part of my life, and I wanted to be among the many people who want Rhode Island communities to feel appreciated.

If you feel like you’re being taken for granted, just know that there are people out there that do/will appreciate your hard work. This also kind of goes along with another blog post of mine, The Two Tips To Achieve Self Love.

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I quoted this in another blog post, and I’ll quote it again, (because TBH when am I NOT pulling a quote out of my butt?) “Your twenties are your selfish years.” Yes, you have to be selfish sometimes, but not so much that you completely take everything and everyone you’ve ever known for granted. Take a minute and pray, or even better, as soon as your feet hit the ground in the morning, say “thank you.” And with every step you take afterwards, say “thank you.” You only get one life. Tell those workers at Starbucks (I’m talking to you, RWU students 😜) “thank you,” or that one professor who listened to your problems “thank you.” A little appreciation goes a long way. It’ll make someone’s day. (Sorry that rhymed 🤣) Heck, even thank Mother Nature for how nice the weather was today (if it was nice — I don’t know where you are in the world!)

If you know me, you’d know that I pray on the daily. I say to God ALWAYS, “thank you for this life and I thank you for protecting me.” I ask God to bless everyone in my life who has impacted me for the better. I’ll pray tonight that my junior/senior year of college will be the best year of my life.

Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection

Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection

So, as most of you know, I just wrapped up my editorial internship at Rhode Island Monthly, and it’s been a dream come true.

Rhode Island Monthly is the premier publication in Rhode Island, and I’m forever grateful to have been a part of it for nearly four months. It’s almost weird not going into Providence every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Some of the highlights include:

  1.  Best of RI Party

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I wrote an entire blog post about my experience here.

2.  Interviewing Maria del Carmen Mercado

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via Rhode Island Monthly

Maria del Carmen Mercado is an RI fashion designer. She taught me so much in this one interview. For example, why post on social media every day when you can just post something and say “hey, this is what I’ve been working on,” or something inspiring. Read the entire article here.

3.  Trying out a (free) fitness class

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Photo by me

To read the full article, click here.

4.  Branching out of my comfort zone and writing my own fashion blog!

At RIM, I was blessed with the opportunity to create my own “fashion plate” on the site. One of the (many) things I did was go out and take photos of young women in PVD to compile a Fashion-Forward: Street Style in PVD post. This was definitely one way of branching out of my comfort zone.

5.  Throwing the first pitch at a PawSox game

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I know, I have bad form, but my aim was okay! This came as a surprise for all three of us, interns. It started with a picture, then we were told to get into a single-file line onto the field and we were each given a ball. None of us knew what we were doing! When we were told to throw the balls to the catcher, Fernando, we just went with the flow and, yes, someone got a picture of us throwing the FIRST PITCH! We then had to get all of the RI Monthly employees to sign our balls. Did the PawSox win? No, but we all won a HUGE highlight of our summer internships.

6.  Meeting fashion icon, Iris Apfel

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Yes, this is Iris Apfel still killing the fashion game at ninety-six-years-old! I met her at RIB & RHEIN in Newport. For the full article, click here.

I definitely found fashion to be my “niche” this past summer and will continue to write about it wherever the wind takes me! Rhode Island may not be the fashion capital of America, but it certainly is the “Creative Capital.”

Thank you, Rhode Island Monthly, for the best summer of my life ☺♥

Next stop, an Editorial Fellowship at College Fashionista, my junior year at RWU, and SENIOR SEMINAR/THESIS!

xoxo,

April

 

 

 

Empower Not Tower

Empower Not Tower

“A bully tries to tower, but really has no power.” –  Aly & AJ

Have you ever been told you’re “too much?” “Overly emotional?” Or even worse, “not good enough?” For me: yes, yes, and yes.

Bullying has, unfortunately, become an unnecessary epidemic plaguing our society. But is society the bully? I know, I’m getting a little too deep and poetic here, but this is the thing: IT’S WHO I AM.

I saw a tweet posted by one of my fellow Instagramming Fashionistas. It read:

When someone you trust tells you ‘who you are,’ you tend to believe what they say. It’s important to understand you know yourself better than anyone else does, and what someone else says about you doesn’t define who you are — no matter how important that person is to your life. – @OfficialBrit.

Simply “brushing it off,” is something that I don’t think anyone can do easily — especially not me! Having spent the majority of my school years being bullied by adults, people my age, and even people younger than me, I eventually learned to “brush off the hate” and live my own life without worrying about what people thought of me, even though there was a point in my life I tried so hard to be ‘perfect.’ In fact, whenever I have one of my “episodes,” I repeat to myself, “I try so hard to be the perfect daughter, friend, girlfriend [that is, when I am in a relationship] and no one appreciates my efforts!” But in reality, that’s my anxiety kicking into full swing.

But what you have to realize that, and yes, this is another quote from HelloKaty:

“Nothing hurts unless you let it!”

I’m literally pulling quotes out of my butt, and I’m not apologizing for it!

That’s another problem: we always have to feel like we’re “sorry” for who we are when really, you just have to OWN. IT. We even apologize for the little things that we do that people might think are annoying, even when they’re not considered “annoying.” This reminds me of an old, but still relevant Selena Gomez song.

On that note, and this goes for guys, too: if you choose to make fun of someone for not doing/having something, take a step back because you’re no better than them. Empower, not tower. 

Did I ever welcome you all to my new series, by the way?

If I don’t do/have something it’s either that I choose not to, or simply because I don’t have control over it!

Moral of the story, when someone tries to tear you down, or if they’re just jealous, know this: don’t let that person’s harsh/passive-aggressive words or actions affect you. I know that’s easier said than done, but in the end, the haters lose and you’re the winner in your own life. But we’re not children, anymore. No one is keeping “tallies.” I once did an art project titled “Life is a game, but in order to play it, you need to find yourself first.” It’s basically about staying true to yourself throughout this “game” we call life. And I use that term very loosely, and so should you, even if you are a competitive person.

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: How To Style Birkenstocks (are they the new uggs?)

THE FASHION DIARIES: How To Style Birkenstocks (are they the new uggs?)

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Happy Sunday, my (A)pril-Listers! I had a busy weekend (hi Kristen, hi Katelyn!) My best friends from Massachusetts came all the way down to little Rhodey to visit me! Over the weekend I found out their beauty secrets (which I’ll be sure to post at some point) and we definitely kept the weekend fashionable.

So I gave into the trend I used to make fun of, Birkenstocks! Yes, I bought a pair from SHEIN. This dress I’m about to show you that I just got from SHEIN is TO DIE FOR and I couldn’t wait to share it with y’all. Not to mention it’s PERFECT with Birkenstocks.

I bought the traditional tan Birkenstocks because, duh, tan goes with everything! Like I said, I used to make fun of them but now, I just can’t get enough! I want them in black, pink, white, every color imaginable!

Okay, judge me, because Birkenstocks are basically the new UGG fad for the summer/springtime. But personally, I think they’re both timeless trends. I mean, hey, jeans have been around for decades and people still wear them, even if they are wide-legged. 

P.S. Jeans with Birkenstocks = HAWT (especially with skinny jeans).

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Without further ado… here’s a couple of ways I’ve styled the infamous Birks.

  1. Festival Style

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Yes, it was 90+ degrees and I was still wearing a cardigan strictly for this artsy, festival look.

Nevertheless, Birkenstocks are THE show for festivals. In this case, my friend and I went to the Warren Folk Festival last weekend, where we were going to be walking (and, of course, bearing the heat.) So, I wanted to go for a more casual look. Here I am wearing (literal) cut-offs jean shorts that come down just at the middle of the thigh. I’m wearing the vintage sunglasses I bought at Urban Outfitters and a simple, black tank-top. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the fedora (;

2.  Sunday Brunch

This is the dress I’ve been dying to show on my blog. It’s from SHEIN and it has blue stripes and orange and pink tassels, which are SO in right now. I have never been so in love with a dress before. But this goes to show that Birkenstocks can definitely go with any casual dress. I was thinking of my little black short-sleeve dress with a v-neck that I also purchased from SHEIN.

These shoes are also perfect if you want to get a pedicure (yes, my friends and I got ~blue~ pedicures.) My toes are Tiffany-Blue ☺

Birkenstocks are also great for toning down a cute romper and achieving a more casual look.

Start your end-of-summer looks off with sliding your feet into a comfortable pair of Birkenstocks! These shoes are also perfect for walking around campus (especially if your campus is larger.)

xoxo,

April

I do not own any of the gifs used in this blog post.***

Celebrating the Best of Rhode Island at the 25th Annual Best of Rhode Island Party

Celebrating the Best of Rhode Island at the 25th Annual Best of Rhode Island Party

I trudge down to the back of PPAC in my five-inch heels thinking to myself, “I’m definitely changing out of these later!” Then I see the red carpet set up exclusively for VIPs. I then think to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here at Rhode Island Monthly’s Best of Rhode Island party!” I work the event with two other interns handing out VIP lanyards (that were a team-effort to get untangled from each other) for a total of ninety minutes. Then, at 6:30, the back doors close and we head to the stage where every winner and their guests were mingling in large crowds.

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I search to find my seat (and my mom) and then I grab two glasses of prosecco (one for me and one for my mom, don’t worry!) I sit back down and John Palumbo, himself, comes on stage — the man who started it all. The audience gets a kick out of the Family Feud parody that’s played on the screen. After that, they unveiled the cover, and in no time flat, we were all rushing to the back to receive our copies of the August issue (and to get food, beers, wines, and cocktails, of course!)

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I remember looking at my Instagram feed this morning and seeing that picture I took for Feast Sandwich Co. I walk into the Rhode Island Monthly office feeling empowered, capable, and absolutely lucky for what this summer internship has brought me.

I might as well showcase what I’m wearing, while I’m still writing this, because why not?

To view my “Get Ready With Me” video, click here. I apologize in advance for how underdone it is, I’m still getting used to video-editing. But good news is, I finally learned how to edit a photo on a computer!

Sorry for the sidenotes, but let’s get into it, I bought my pink, scalloped dress from SHEIN. They sell the cutest clothes for cheap prices! I paired with it pink stud earring with little green polka-dots that I bought at the Providence Flea and my mom’s pearl necklace. Finally, the shoes that I put on after I ditched the heels were from TJMAXX.

For those of you wondering, my style ranges from trendy to preppy ☺

OH! I promised I’d share with you my “big news!” Drumroll please….

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There are actually two parts to it, and both of them have to do with plans after RIM:

  1.  I’ll be a contributer for Marjorie Magazine.
  2.  I applied for an editorial fellowship (I can’t say where, yet).

There ya go!

In short, Rhode Island is a small state, but we have so much to offer, and I don’t think we get enough credit for just how wonderful we are. It’s definitely not where I thought I’d end up, but now I know PVD by heart than I’v ever known Boston. Although I will be trading it in two short years (after I graduate,) I’ll remember to include it in my social media bios ☺

THE FASHION DIARIES: A Mid-Summer Fashion Dream | ZARA and Discounts

THE FASHION DIARIES: A Mid-Summer Fashion Dream | ZARA and Discounts

Long time no fashion updates! (Well, except on Instagram, of course). But, as promised, I will be doing a ZARA AND a discount haul! I’ve been so busy with my internship, work, and even an org retreat. To follow my bylines at Rhode Island Monthly, click here.

But let’s get down my business (a.k.a my blog) and talk about what I’ve bought recently/worn this week:

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P.S. sorry that 3/4 of these are selfies, but I just wanted to get ~the essentials~ in the pictures.

This first outfit I wore on Monday to RIM, and I really wanted to wear one of my new tops from ZARA. I thought of wearing these shoes that I got for my birthday (from TJMAXX) for a pop of color. This outfit is perfect for a work environment, an interview, or even school if you’re feeling fancy. These rounded sunglasses are from Francesca’s. The top can also be paired with a dark-wash jean.

2.

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This is (another selfie) but it’s also a printed top that I also purchased from ZARA with mixes of yellows, oranges, browns, lilacs, and pinks. The sleeves are poofy with babydoll detail, which you can also see at the neck with almost a neck-tie keeping the shirt together. This adds a more sophisticated look, but this can be worn anywhere, although it does have a bit of deep neck (hence the tie). I wore this with a pair of red jeans and beige-gold kitten heels.

3.

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Exhibit C: a pinstripe peplum top I wore on my little excursion to Downtown Bristol. This is an example of a more sophisticated makeup look. I usually don’t wear eyeliner, but I used a powdered brown eyeliner from bareMinerals to create a subtle cat-eye. I didn’t want the cat-eye to be too strong because it was only a nice summer day by the water at one of my favorite coffee shops.

This outfit was actually inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers, Erin Noelle. Believe it or not, this outfit (and the earrings) were from Wal-Mart! So, of course, I bought them both for decent prices! The earrings I actually featured in my blog post, THE FASHION DIARIES: Summer Colors and Patterns. I paired this ensemble with classic white jeans, the original Sperry Topsiders, and a classic gold ALEX AND ANI bracelet.

4.

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You know what they say, everything is better with pockets! At least, that’s what some people say IDK. Truth be told, I didn’t even realize this dress had pockets until I put it on! This is another discount outfit I wore to RIM. In case you haven’t noticed from previous blog posts, I love blue, bold earrings, cute shoes, and vertical stripes.

If you look closely, my earrings are hot pink with pom-poms, and my shoes have bows on them! Also, I’m sporting a new pair of retro sunglasses from Urban Outfitters. They remind me of the pair of sunglasses that Carrie Bradshaw wears in “The Carrie Diaries.”

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BEAUTY REVIEW: Make the Cut by Essie

BEAUTY REVIEW: Make the Cut by Essie

Hello, (A)pril-listers and WELCOME to my new domain (theaprildiaries.blog!) I’m proud to say that after almost two whole years, my blog is finally its own site! To celebrate, I’m also adding a beauty section to this lifestyle/fashion blog! So, I am promoting a recent purchase of mine: Essie Nail Polish!

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I have so many nail polishes, but I never really paid particular attention to the brand. I recently purchased Essie: Gel Couture Make the Cut. And to my surprise, it has been staying on! No chips or anything! WOO! That’s always my main concern when putting on nail polish: will it chip? But it’s been three days, and so far, no chips! To find more shades, click here.

This shade, in particular, is a “pearlized nude greige” and is a very neutral color that goes with anything you wear! Did I mention it also dries fast?

Essie is an iconic brand founded by Essie Weingarten in 1981. Ask any celebrity or beauty professional (if you know one) and they’ll tell you that they stick true to this brand.

Let me know if you’d like to see any of the other beauty products I use on a daily basis, that way my beauty page can really grow and I can share it with all of you!

THE FASHION DIARIES: Fourth of July Style

THE FASHION DIARIES: Fourth of July Style

I’ve been a tad MIA on the blog for a while; I’ve been too busy killing it at my internship! Speaking of which, I have a journalism portfolio coming out, as soon I’m ~less busy~ which we all know is probably not going to happen, any time soon. But don’t worry, I’ll let you know ☺

It’s one of my most favorite times of the year: Independence Day! I live in Bristol, home to the oldest Fourth of July celebration. Needless to say, everything gets pretty crazy, especially the style! I remember my first summer here, I donned cowboy boots with jean shorts and flannel…… yikes!

This week, I really wanted to keep the patriotism alive through my outfits. Without further ado, here are my top three Fourth of July week outfits:

1.)

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This is a simply stylish white-jeans and speckled peplum blouse outfit. I got this top as an early birthday present for myself (was that really two months ago!?) at H&M. I wanted an outfit that would be appropriate for the office (and for getting a root beer float, afterward.) This outfit screams for both ice cream and summer!

2.)

 

This next style features a simple navy short-sleeved top tucked into my favorite kind of pant… guess which ones… PALAZZO PANTS! If you look closely the pants have stripes and small polka-dots on them. I’m also wearing my new sandals from my new favorite store, Zara. This is a perfect combination of the famous red, white and blue — also appropriate for the Beach House dinner right on the water (where you can also catch a perfect glimpse of the Bristol July 3 Fireworks). I swear, people must’ve seen my Fourth of July article for RIM because I mention the Beach House! I’m also rocking the sunburn, lol!

3.)

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This picture was taken today at the Bristol Fourth of July Parade. Here, I am wearing a red and white pinstripe off-the-shoulder dress with rose-colored vans, complete with a cross-body bag (because you seriously don’t want to carry a big metallic bag like mine to a parade — such a hassle!) And especially in this heat, a water bottle of any kind is essential.

Today, I also documented the Roger Williams University Orientation Advisors’ appearance in the parade — float and all (which won ‘most original’). I must say, it is fun taking charge of social media; I felt like Katy Bellotte in her latest YouTube video

Last Saturday, I had the amazing privilege of meeting Maria del Carmen Mercado, a local fashion designer. As she and I chatted for two whole hours, I learned a lot from her that I think all millennials (and Gen-Z) should follow. But I’ll save that for another blog post.

Have a safe, healthy and cool Fourth of July. Oh yeah, and happy birthday, America!

xoxo

April

My Dear, You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To

My Dear, You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To

On Wednesday, after I got out of my internship, I looked out onto Thayer Street in Providence and how I somewhat wished I got accepted to Brown my senior year. But then I thought, how lucky am I to be in a city with so much culture, so much style. Providence and Rhode Island for that matter are not necessarily known for fashion. But that’s what I’m trying to bring to light in my new fashion blog RIM.

I can’t exactly show the pictures on my personal blog, but I’ll let you know when the blog, itself, is done. Speaking of which, check out my very first blog post at RIM here.

Going into Providence and randomly asking strangers if I could take their picture for a magazine is something that is way beyond my comfort zone. That’s right, I’m here to talk about the ~comfort zone.~

Around this time, last year, I shared a post called Never Settle | Getting Out Of Your Own Way And Upsetting The Balance. So, what is it that you’re trying to get out of? A bad relationship? A toxic friendship? What I’m trying to say here is that getting out of your comfort zone is something that can extend far beyond what I was doing on Wednesday afternoon. The truth is, anything can be a courageous act, that includes getting out of bed and facing that embarrassing moment that happened yesterday. I’ve been faced with many mundane things that people would say is “courageous.” For example, I went rock-climbing with my Girl Scout troop in fifth grade when I knew I sucked at it (and believe me, I do.) In sixth grade, I really branched out of my shell, especially in science class when I presented about the Chilean Earthquake. My teacher even wrote on my rubric, “you should be a teacher!” But sadly that is not going to happen any time soon, or at all in my case. But I remember distinctly that same teacher wrote on my progress report, “I think April has become a confident young woman.”

That isn’t to say that there will be people who will try to knock you down in the future and flat-out bully you for the sake of their own insecurities. If you want more confidence, click here to see my previous blog post.

Taking that extra step or going that extra mile, is something, indeed you can do. My dear, you can do anything you set your mind to! I’ve thought about go over my overload next semester and taking seven classes instead of six. But at the same time, you want to think about what’s realistic. Will I be able to take those seven classes? The world may never know…

The same thing goes with applying to graduate schools. I’m in that stage of my college career where I’m thinking about applying to grad school. I attended a webinar early this afternoon for a prospective grad school for publishing when I realized I didn’t quite think it was up-to-par with my standards. Getting out of your comfort zone is also about knowing what you want, and there are some things that can be daunting but you know you have to do them. And there are some things that just become a part of you — things that come naturally to you that they didn’t before. I used to be afraid to ask questions, but especially this day in age, questions are critical. They show that you take interest in a job, school or position. Getting out of your comfort zone means asking a relatively stupid question if need be.

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But no matter where I go to grad school, I know that it won’t be in Rhode Island, no matter how much I’ve come to love this state. If you don’t know why, check out this blog post. I’m currently listening to “L.A. Story” by Sammy Adams featuring Mike Posner as I write this, and I can’t help but think, “could I end up in California?” No matter where I go, I’m determined, and I’m sure as hell ready to get out of my comfort zone some more, because my dear, you can do anything you set your mind to. 

 

 

 

 

What’s Wrong With Being Confident? Absolutely Nothing

What’s Wrong With Being Confident? Absolutely Nothing

Someone once told me that “happiness doesn’t get you anywhere.” Well, they were so wrong. I recently shared a video on Facebook that talked about the idea of cheating and hurting other people based on your own insecurities. All I could say is, they nailed it right on the head.

In today’s society, there are so many outside factors that deteriorate our confidence. Confidence is such a broad term, and it took me a while to grasp it. I first heard the term and tried to apply it to myself in seventh grade. I’ve read plenty of Seventeen magazines prior to that year, but I was too young to fully understand it.

In seventh grade, I tried to “up” my confidence by dressing, well, not like a seventh grader, let’s put it that way. I did this because I was actually trying to hide my own insecurities, especially since I was being bullied. In reality, I was only hurting myself.

The year before, sixth grade, a.k.a one of the worst years of my life, I look back at it now and say I was completely confident, despite the people trying to bring me down and talking about me behind my back and, worse, to my face (like, b*tch, I can hear you *eye roll*).

I really had fashion to lie back on during the tumultuous years of middle school and the first half of my freshman year. When I transferred high schools, I loved the idea of being able to speak my mind and share my stories. I didn’t let anyone bring me down until I was starting to rely on what people of authority thought of me. So then, I was basing my confidence on my smarts and the fact that I was trying to be a redheaded Barbie doll.

It’s easy to say that now I look nothing like the Barbie doll I tried to be. But I read an essay in my Literary Philosophy class this past semester by Jane Hamill that was appropriately titled, “A Grown-Up Barbie.” Needless to say, I related to that story on all levels. I wanted to be in the fashion world and go to meetings in Paris and New York. Now, I’m going to meetings in Providence and I’m never going to stop chasing my dreams, even when I’m in New York one day.

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My point in that last paragraph? I feel confident when I’m pursuing my own dreams, and not what people want me to be/do. If anyone is trying to tear you down, that only means they’re being insecure, and newsflash, you don’t have to worry about them whatsoever. There will obviously be people who just want the best for you, so do take their advice because who knows? It could be valuable one day.

I got the inspiration to write this blog post yesterday when I ran/walked over a mile at personal training for the first time in 2+ years, and I can honestly say I felt 10x more confident.

What is confidence? Confidence is:

1.)  Believing in yourself.

2.)  Not listening to others when they try to put you down.

3.)  Staying away from the toxicity of others.

4.)  KNOWING YOUR WORTH.

5.)  Knowing what makes YOU happy.

One last piece of advice, if you’re not pissing people off with your confidence, you’re not doing it right. But really, there’s no “right way” to be confident. Do your own thang!

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To pump yourself up, even if it’s just on your way to your internship, listen to these tunes:

  • “One Girl Revolution,” SuperChick
  • “Confident,” Demi Lovato
  • Any Destiny’s Child song
  • “Girl On Fire,” Alicia Keys
  • “All Of The Lights,” Kanye West
  • “Sorry Not Sorry,” Demi Lovato
  • “Miss Independent,” Kelly Clarkson
  • “Comin’ Up,” Sammy Adams

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Summer Colors and Patterns

THE FASHION DIARIES: Summer Colors and Patterns

It’s officially post-Memorial day (and my birthday), which means one thing: TIME TO WEAR WHITE… and other things. I’m not going to lie, I’ve broken this rule one too many times, but do I care? No, not really.

You can check out my very first published Rhode Island Monthly materials here.

Anyway, I’ve been bringing out the summer colors since I got out of school last month.

Exhibit A: Colorful earrings. Orange, especially, is the color of conversation. If you’re going for simple jewelry, however, I recommend choosing gold. Gold is paving its way into the spotlight this season, and as you can tell from these photos, so are chambray and white.

 

In both of these photos, I’m also rocking the beachy waves. My hair is naturally straight, but sometimes when I sleep on it weird (when it’s still wet, that is), I just let my hair do its thang, and if I like it, I like it.

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White is especially popular for the summer because it’s 1) a neutral and 2) a light-reflecting color that will be sure to keep you cool for the summer *insert Demi here.*

Exhibit B: Military green. Military green was a popular color during the springtime. But, I’m escorting it into my own personal summer style guide. Military green can be paired with any neutral color, like gold, white, pale pink, silver, and black. In this case, I paired my military green “birthday suit” with a pale pink chunky, platform heel and a rose-gold, gold and silver statement necklace (and, of course, a birthday crown).

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Last, but not pictured, are stripes. No matter if they are black and white or navy and white, but this pattern screams #nautical. And with the nautical aspect in mind, anchor prints will also be coming back for the summer season.

Stay tuned for more Rhode Island Monthly articles! ♥

For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22

For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22

Boston. There’s just something about it that makes you feel connected to everyone and everything in it, no matter where you’re from. For those of you who don’t know, I used to live in Massachusetts and went to high school in Newton. So really, Boston was all I ever really known, besides my own small town.

As a part of my birthday weekend, my dad took my cousins and me to Assembly. We first stopped at Cafe Nero, and it’s better coffee than anything I’ve ever had. Seriously, try their Cafe au lait (that’s “coffee with milk” in French).

There’s just something about the city in general that just makes me feel at home. By this time, I’ve lived in Rhode Island for two whole years.

Yes, I’ll be turning 22 tomorrow, May 28. PLEASE don’t play that annoying Taylor Swift song! My 21st year has been one for the books. I’m currently sitting in the Middletown Starbucks contemplating this past year. I’ve grown mentally, in muscle mass (I do love my upper body workouts), academically, and professionally. I said this once and I’ll say it one more time: I’ve lived this year with absolutely no regrets, and that was my ultimate goal in life.

So, for the girl about to turn 21, or turned 21 recently, here’s what you need to know:

1.) ALWAYS have your ID ready. Just because you’re 21, that doesn’t mean your server will necessarily trust you on that.

2.) Your parents (especially your mom) are always right.

3.) Stick up for yourself and your rights as a human being in this crazy, scary world of ours.

4.) It’s absolutely okay to be single.

5.) Don’t use your phone ALL THE TIME.

6.) Try something new.

7.) Find that one older “mentor” that you look up to.

8.) If you’re thinking about transferring colleges, weigh out the pros and cons and just do it.

9.) It’s always okay to say ‘no.’

10.) You don’t have to please everybody.

11.) Focus on YOU and only YOU — don’t worry about what other people think of you.

12.) Pray. God is good.

13.) Follow your dreams, if you know what you want to do with your life. Email that company you’ve been dying to intern at.

14.) Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all make mistakes.

15.) Don’t have high expectations. You’re being introduced to the real world.

16.) Workout — it releases endorphins!

17.) Write — it helps with any situation, especially poetry.

18.) Take a class on something you never thought you’d want to learn. I mean, hey, for my Arts Management minor, I’m taking business classes.

19.) Clean up your social media. Get rid of those toxic people from your friend list.

20.) Cry. It’s healthy. The feeling sucks, but it’s temporary.

21.) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

22.) And finally, for one to grow on, if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen.

Being 21 definitely brought some realizations of who I really am. This is your chance to find out who you really are, too.

I already know that 22 will be a fantastic year. I’ll be doing what I love: writing and editing. Also, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been selected as my Campus Entertainment Network’s Public Relations Chair! ☺

The next time you hear from me, I’ll be an intern/working girl. Be ready to hear all about my adventures in Providence!

Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first

Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first

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 you’re 23.” However, it may seem like that, but I promise you it’s not true.

At 23 it’s as though people expect that you know what you want to do. I promise you it just seems that way, but it’s all about figuring out who you are! If you’re like me, you WILL go back and forth between law and publishing, only to decide that it’s been publishing even before you even transferred colleges.

I binge-watched the entire “Sex and the City” series, and I watched the final episode tonight, and I found myself reciting Carrie Bradshaw’s most famous line: “there are relationships that will take you unexpected places, there are relationships that will get you far from where you were, there are relationships that will take you home, but the most important relationship, is the one you have with yourself.” I think that’s the only quote that I memorized throughout that entire series besides “hello my name is fabulous.” These are both true for when you turn 23. It’s all about how you see yourself — not through other people’s eyes.

In just eight days, I turn 24, not to mention it’s officially GEMINI SEASON! So without further ado, here are 23 tips when you turn 23:

  1. You will want to/or explore going to graduate school. But if you don’t, that’s still okay.
  2. Watch “Wonder,” even if you read the book. It will change you, and you will relate to it in some way or another. Also, watch “Joker,” because it’ll give you another aspect of psychology, for all of you psych majors out there!
  3. Binge watch “Sex and the City,” no, I am not biased. It has hidden life lessons that will help you later on.
  4. Treat yourself to a shopping spree! This could be the last time unless you make bank and you have a steady job. Maybe after you’ve watched “Sex and the City” you’ll want a pair of her blue Manolo Blahniks.
  5. Go back to your roots. It could be bible-study, it could be going back to the country you were born in, or it could simply be the hobby you were born to make a career out of.
  6. Thank your fifth-grade teacher, even if they don’t reply to your email. They knew you better than any other teacher. If you’re graduating from college, thank your professors.
  7. If you’re in a non-related teaching field, you probably don’t want to go into teaching. I’m just telling you from someone who tried to explore that route.
  8. You will make friends on the internet, if you haven’t done so, already. Just be smart about it.
  9. You will be so thankful you didn’t end up with what you thought you wanted.
  10. Ambition is key to no matter what you do.
  11. Rachel from “Friends” will be the most relatable character from “Friends.” Yes, you will be watching that show a lot because adulting is hard.
  12. If you do choose to go to graduate school, pick whatever field you choose with no one’s influence — including your mom’s.
  13. Cry — it doesn’t matter how many times you cry this year, or how many people notice, just cry.
  14. This year is about staying true to YOU — no matter if you’re post-grad or just getting out of undergrad.
  15. If you are a newly-minted college grad, conGRADulations!
  16. Don’t listen to your brain after you’ve had an entire bottle of wine. Your wine-induced brain doesn’t know what the hell she/he is thinking. Besides, you’ll realize that drinking isn’t ostensibly so cool like you thought when you were 21.
  17. Again, it’s okay if you don’t have a “cool job” or internship, yet. You’ll get there with time, patience, and perseverance.
  18. Please let your loved ones know if you got home safely.
  19. Tell your loved ones “I love you,” and mean it.
  20. Especially in these times, go for a job on the front-lines, like working at a Veterans’ or Nursing Home.
  21. Your opinion on love will change, and it will be YOURS. In fact, all opinions will be yours, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You’ve learned, you’re educated, and you should make a cohesive argument by now.
  22. If you haven’t learned how to say “no” by now, it’s time.
  23. With that being said, speak up!

Well, nonetheless, welcome to your own Jordan Year, as I transition to my Kobe year. 🥂 Bottoms up. (BTW is a “Kobe year” even a thing?) Well, I’m making it a thing.

xoxo,

April 💕

To the Roger Williams University Class of 2020

To the Roger Williams University Class of 2020

On August 5, 2019, which seems like forever ago at this point in time, (given the turbulence 2020 brought us already before this very moment), the literary world and the world at large, lost an icon: Beloved author, Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison earned her B.A. at Howard University and her M.A. at Cornell University. She taught at multiple universities before finally retiring from Princeton. Just like any other author, she was full of quotes. One quote that I found while perusing the internet, struck a chord of truth within me: “I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’”

I began to reflect on this quote and my experience at RWU, which all of you might be doing right this very second — on the day of our graduation. The thing about English Literature, that I have come to know when fulfilling my requirements for my Creative Writing degree, is that all characters struggle with an internal and/or external conflict. Most of the time, we focus on the external conflict surrounding the character, but no one pays attention to how and what the character is feeling – what is going on in their heads. That is, until we analyze or “pick apart,” as some of us said in Dr. Scheinberg’s “The Other Victorians” class. Why do authors even write these stories? The simple answer that I can give you, is to not only educate, but to inspire, or in Toni Morrison’s words, empower. As I listened to a Katy Bellotte podcast, I remembered that I randomly brought up my blog to a friend of mine in my art history class. 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 used to want to be an influencer and promote all of these brands that I knew would never give me the time of day. But really, in a world where the universe relies on technology and overly edited photographs, I realized I want to influence people to be the best version of themselves. I want to be real, and not only say, “my name is April Federico, and I am a writer.”

I’m convinced that we all knew what we wanted to be when we grew up when we were at least eight years old, if not infants. For me, this was shown in a photograph of myself as a baby “reading” a plush book about farm animals, which I proudly showed to Mrs. Green’s Kindergarten class in a “Me Magazine” that we all got to fill out and show our peers when we were each the “special person” of the week. Let’s just say the “Me Magazine” is how I began to love the art of producing magazines. When I was finally able to actually read, I picked up a copy of J-14 magazine. That copy of J-14 turned into a heaping pile sitting on a bookshelf in my room, comprised of M, Popstar!, Tiger Beat, and BOP. I would only go grocery shopping with my mom simply to pick up a magazine. And on the topic of being “real,” my mom (whom most of you may know as adjunct professor Melissa Macaulay Federico of marketing) called me out one time for reading the embarrassing stories sections. As much as I loved learning facts about the Sprouse twins, Jesse McCartney, Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne, amongst so many others, it was the humiliating, yet raw and earthly stories from people. Why do you think that we love to read the captions of Humans of New York? Put simply, they’re real. And because I loved to read, not just magazines I promise, I learned that I loved to write my own stories, which prompted my second-grade teacher to say when giving an example of a spelling word, “April loves to write.” It did take some trial and error in my college career to figure that out for myself, but it’s been true all along.

The funny thing about all that is that some of us, if not all of us, may have been struggling, too – to find ourselves and our true life’s purposes. On this day, when we glance down at our degrees (who knows if we’re doing that or not, today), no matter if it’s a BS, BA, or BFA, remember not so much about the numerous cups of Caramel Macchiatos, Nitro Cold Brews, or Venti Iced White Mocha Lattes purchased at Starbucks, or the tears, sweat, (and hopefully not blood) that have been shed trying to complete an essay or project, but realize that you did, in fact, find your purpose at RWU. For some of you, it may have been to give your power to those who may feel powerless or estranged from society, thus you took a trip with Habitat for Humanity, joined the Women’s Collective, or even took an international trip with FIMRC. For some of you, it may have been the urging need for something to be done for the student body, thus you joined Student Senate or Inter-Class Council. For some of you, it may have been to share your extensive knowledge of math, science, foreign languages, and/or the art of writing with students needing that extra reassurance in the tutoring center. For some of you, it may have been the ability to carry your athletic team across that finish line or shoot that winning shot in basketball. No matter where you take your “superpowers,” I encourage you to keep Toni Morrison’s words not only in your minds but also in your hearts. Also, no matter where you go, just do the right thing.

Thank you, Roger Williams University, for creating a nest that we, hawks, will all miss dearly. And thank you for everything. Congratulations and good luck to the Roger Williams University and University College Class of 2020. I’ll see you all a year from now in 2021 when we WILL have our chance to walk across the stage.

xoxoxo,

April 💕

I Am April Federico. Part One.

I Am April Federico. Part One.

I returned home in my khaki Bermuda shorts and my Cat in the Hat T-shirt, and I sat down to read a Cheetah Girls book — one that I’ve been meaning to read since 2nd grade. I vaguely recall a group of four of the ostensible “popular” boys and girls walking behind my mom’s black Jeep, that she still owns to this day. She’s had that car since I was in first grade. Keep in mind, that I am a fifth year in college. She got that car when I was 7.5, and I am on the verge of turning 24.

I remember because English, Science, and Geography were my favorite subjects. I hated math with all my being. I feel half my heart burning, at this moment in writing this, the Screwdriver I had, makes me stop and think, “you are not that girl, anymore.” I am not that girl anymore because I’ve grown to have respect for myself when I felt like no one liked me. That’s the most powerful form of love — self-love.

Though my hair may not be washed at this present moment, and I am settling for movies that don’t even satisfy me, like “Jumanji,” I’m sorry but that movie doesn’t inspire me. I turn to a movie on E! called “She’s All That,” where Laney tells the pathetic class president that their little moment on the corner of two streets is “surreal,” meaning their meeting could never happen in real life. It makes me angry, times like these movies were made. Even when “Hairspray,” the 2008 version was made, I hated that time. It was more or less ahead of that time because John Travolta played a woman — fat suit and all. Laney, on the other hand, is a beautiful young woman who is forced to become the most popular girl in school. The fact of the matter is, she’s already beautiful. The only thing that “doesn’t,” is that she “runs like a girl,” she wears glasses, and she is smart. What’s wrong with those? By the way, she is a girl. 

Even when my 32-year-old brother was a high schooler, it made me angry, the dynamic that he grew up with. I didn’t know what that pinging was in my chest at the time, but I know now, that was anger. I was dumbfounded when I found out that his best friend was killed by a drunk driver in 2004. My hairdresser by the time I turned 15, was his classmate, prior to her moving to another school. I found out that my hairdresser was bullied because “she didn’t dress ‘rich.'” But my brother liked her because she was funny. To me, he was the coolest guy in Medfield, Massachusetts. Yes, that’s where I grew up and moved out of, thankfully. I even remember when his friend said, “she’s so shy, she can’t even say hi,” at their “prom party.”

I remember, in 2009, when I went to my first two middle school dances, I wore a red dress. Those two dresses were different, of course. I remember a lot of guys staring at me, the night of December 2nd, 2009. That was when, as Carrie Bradshaw would say, “I got the knack for labels early,” as that dress was from Arden B. Even though I had developed a “passion for fashion,” I felt like I had been gifted the “Ghosts of April’s past.” I don’t know who would have visited/haunted me, but they surely came at later dates.

I found that one scene in “She’s All That” when the supposed popular girl said, “you’re a waste of yearbook space. You’re not gonna cry are you?” And I recall in just 3rd grade when a girl said, “your pilgrim’s house is weird. And you’re weird too. April, are you sad?” all in consecutive order, no pause in-between. To which I say, now, even though that person just may have changed:

Princess Diaries 3 In The Making...Looking Back At Parts 1 & 2 ...

Read Mia (Anne Hathaway’s) quote real carefully, “someday I just might grow out of that, but you, you will never stop being a jerk.” 

What I could say to middle-schoolers, in this moment in time, it does get better. Some people move on to other schools, some people are luckier than that. I have people tell me, “you’re lucky you were strong enough to get out.” They’re right, I was. But that has NOT diminished my self-worth.

And don’t worry about my mom’s car. Its longevity does not make me ostensibly “rude” just for sticking up for myself.

Beware the Sides of March | I’ve Seen Both Sides Now

Beware the Sides of March | I’ve Seen Both Sides Now

There is no doubt this month pounced its way in like a lion with the coronavirus happy whoreshit, and ended today, March 31st, with the death of Tomie dePaola, famous Strega Nona writer. Remember those books we read as preschoolers or kindergarteners? We were too young to even remotely understand the ideas, let alone words, like “pandemic” or “death.” These words didn’t make sense to me until my grandmother’s death in fifth grade, and when the Swine Flu pandemic began in Mexico in sixth grade.

I remember, in sixth grade, some of the first things that were ever spewed out of the mouths of “authority” at my middle school were “this year’s theme is survival.” Little did I know we were going through a recession, as we are right now, but we were sixth graders just trying to navigate middle school — the worst years of our lives, or at least mine.

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I saw a picture of an otter recently, and it reminded me of how otters sleep while holding hands so they don’t drift apart. Random animal fact, I know. But it should make you smile, nonetheless. But I remember even the simplest of sixth grade days, I had a fuzzy backpack, and I convinced myself I was both bad at math and friends, which made me relate to an American Idol contestant who sang “Barracuda” for an audition. Her name, I forget at this point in time. But one thing I still remember is how she used singing at a mode for survival. This was the year that Adam Lambert lost to Kris Allen. These were simpler times.

However, another thing I was doing, other than watching American Idol, was creating my own stories. My favorite subject, though everyone else hated it, was English. I remember coming home after school and wanting to read something like P.S. Longer Letter Later, and I actually liked Tom Sawyer. I became fascinated with the idea of writing stories. I did this to block out the idea of me being bullied, which was, unfortunately, my reality.

Dealing with reality, nowadays, during this world-wide pandemic [that everyone is sick of talking about], is harder for some people. It makes us feel like we are out of control. But the fact of the matter is, we are more than what we think. Our souls overpower our fear(s). This time is certainly uncertain for a lot of people, if not everybody. According to a quote by Danielle Doby, “…in the uncertainty, you hold the power to create anything.” Shakespeare was living proof of this, which is one of the main reasons he remains as one of my literary idols. He wrote Romeo and Juliet out of the Black Death. Even Isaac Newton’s university closed down for two years, thus he had to retire to a country home where he developed calculus. I was in my senior art studio “class” via ZOOM, and although I had my aches and pains trying to get comfortable for a four-hour class, it was refreshing to see what people were creating. My anxiety has been through the roof recently because of this new transition towards online courses, but now that I’ve seen things through a positive lens and I’m actually getting stuff done in my office [my room — a room which I draw, read, and write in.]

In short, you can see March as “hell month,” or see that March isn’t so bad, after all. I’ve seen both sides of March, now. It can’t phase me any more than it used to do.