15 Healthier Habits To Have After 15 Months

When COVID-19 happened, I found it hard to find a steady routine to live by every day, and it was harder because my then-work schedule would change like a girl changes clothes. Besides, the job was taking its toll on my mental health. But then, after 15 months of the pandemic and year of grad school, I decided that it was time to put the beer and wine aside and get my act together. Yes, I seldom drink now. #Wins

Building healthier habits isn’t the only way to practice self-love. Self-love also requires accepting yourself for who you are, and that includes your flaws as well as opening up to them. Maybe it’s because people weren’t at their best during the pandemic, but self-improvement became a vast movement. Me? I just chose to do it on my own terms, not society’s. Besides, how many people actually say they’re going to ostensibly “improve” themselves and actually do it? The answer is very, very few.

That’s the thing about habits; they’re easy to build and harder to kick. When it comes to health and wellness, they’re actually harder to build and and harder to kick. But it slowly gets better over time. Healthy habits CAN be easy to build and to keep! For me? It took about a week to be less dependent on alcohol. But since getting the app, Fit On, I’m more cognizant of what I choose to put in my body. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a strawberry margarita at your local Mexican restaurant with churros and warm chocolate dip for dessert. That’s just simply depriving yourself of having fun!

Some habits include:

  1. Waking up at 6 a.m. (or any time before 11).
  2. Getting a morning workout in. I do yoga and meditation, preferably outside.
  3. If you can’t work out, just simply stretch.
  4. Shower, if needed or just pat-dry your face
  5. Having coffee or tea (whichever you prefer, just don’t drink too much caffeine!)
  6. Have a protein shake or something healthy for breakfast.
  7. Reading.
  8. Communicating however which way with the people you love, even if it’s just checking in.
  9. Soaking up a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
  10. Taking vitamins.
  11. Dancing around in your room to a killer playlist (I personally adore Lana Del Rey).
  12. Getting dressed.
  13. Taking a walk or run and getting in a certain amount of steps.
  14. Spending time with your sweetie and/or friends.
  15. Drink water! I like mine in a glass with a wedge of lime or lemon to boost my metabolism.

As cliche as this sounds, your body really is the only one you have. Treat it well. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Build good habits for you and only you. If this serves as motivation for you, well, that’s just fantastic!

Good luck, my loves.

xoxo, April

Fashion Diaries: Every Body is a Swimsuit Body | Beauty From Within is IN

When people see me on social media just living “my best life,” they don’t know that my mind is a constant battlefield of insecurity. Right now, as I’m writing this, I feel better because I don’t feel insecure about putting my insecurities out there, hoping that someone out there will understand. I can tell you right now that I am confident that I will inspire someone out there and give someone a big virtual hug (through words — I’m better at writing than I am talking!). After all, no one is put on this Earth to please and constantly kiss people’s asses. I could give people a million reasons to make fun of me: I’m a 25-year-old virgin, I live at home, and I don’t own my own vehicle (correction: I don’t own a vehicle yet…stay tuned on the ‘gram). I’ve even dealt with my fair share of imposter syndrome.

This past Monday, June 7, I was in my round-about driveway laying in the sun when I chose to take pictures of myself… in a bathing suit. I didn’t care if I was wearing a one-piece from SHEIN, what mattered was my state of mind. Before that, I hadn’t worn a bathing suit in years because I had gained a whopping 50 pounds in college. But just the other day, I realized that in college, gaining weight is 100,000% normal as long as you’re happy. Yes, I’ve been pressured to lose weight. I’m not going to lie and say that family members’ words didn’t bother me. What’s terribly f—ed up about that is society, in it of itself, wants people to “look good” instead of just simply being “happy.” In fact, I can look in the mirror and honestly say, “wow, April, you look sexy!” THAT’S what exudes confidence and gives me serotonin.

Moreover, I took this one photo of myself where the lower half of my stomach was prominent and my thigh was gigantic. I then realized, that’s just an angle. And what’s funnier is that “angle” wasn’t even natural. Wait… am I picking apart myself here? April, snap out of it! You look hot! No, I’m not being conceited. No, I am not being cocky. In fact, it took a matter of five days just to get myself like that picture. (My laptop is not letting me load it.) I felt so inspired that I took another bathing suit picture and joked that I was channeling Pamela Anderson!

Don’t mind me, just channeling Pam (;

You can make fun of me all you want. No one’s opinion defines me. What matters is how you define yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Self Love In Bleak Times

January is Self-Love Month, and I’ll be honest and say it’s been sort of a struggle to be positive all the time. I think, as I mentioned in New Year’s Resolutions that people tend to beat themselves up as if they want their resolutions right away. I haven’t been consistent with my walking 2,000 steps every day, but when you need to rest, you need to rest! Besides, who really is positive all the time? January is a time, not a “free trial month” but to make a plan.

The thing about this elusive “self love” (and shout out to my aunt who came up with this idea for a post!) is, why do people put so much pressure on themselves? I’ll admit from personal experience that I strived to be that perfect student in high school, and I got a rude awakening in my first semester of college that really no one can be perfect. With that pressure, aside from OCD, came arrogance and many hours of crying thinking that I wasn’t good enough, even though I was doing just fine. You know what the scary part is? I’m realizing all this as a write this. Self-awareness is something I also need to work on, and I admit that wholeheartedly. Ding, ding, ding! Another thing about self-love! You’ll learn to embrace imperfection.

I wish I could shake my eighteen-year-old self and tell her, “you’re going to be a much more confident young woman, and you’re going to excel beyond words. It may not be at an Ivy League school, you may not be in science, but you will end up getting into your two grad schools of choice, in a field you always loved.”

Self-love is so much more than just giving yourself a bubble bath or a spa day (not that I recommend going to a spa during a global pandemic.) Self love is believing in yourself. Find that faith through whatever outlet, may that be religion or spiritual practices. In bleak times like these, when people are losing their jobs, working jobs they don’t want but need to put food on the table, people also need that place of comfort. As much as I resent retail at the moment, my crew is like my second family. Self-love is that optimism that every day is going to be a good day, despite how you’re feeling that day.

Also, if you did lose your job in 2020, that’s NOT your fault in the slightest. Again, we’re in a pandemic.

Self-love is also knowing that better things are out there for you when something doesn’t work out for you. Don’t ever say you’re being scammed by the universe because you’re destined for better things. This is just the universe, or God, telling you that you are worthy for so much better than what you initially applied for, or whatever. Self-love is not being your own best friend, it is being your own advocate.

With that being said, self-love is knowing when you must step away from the negativity that’s surrounding you. If people refuse to be happy, that’s on them. And it’s most certainly not your fault. People are only mean when they are not happy with themselves. Again, that’s on them. Let them watch the negative news when you could be watching “Forrest Gump,” a movie to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Self-love is the most important love you’ll ever have. Like I said, and it was very timely in Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first , that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Well, actually, Carrie Bradshaw said that — but still relevant, nonetheless.

EMPOWER NOT TOWER: Stop judging and observe.

I remember when I first got a Facebook account, I put Britney Spears’ “Circus” lyrics in my bio: “There’s only two types of people in the world, the ones that entertain and ones that observe.” At the time I put that as my bio at the time not because I was a “budding performer,” but I was constantly feeling “watched.” No, I was not paranoid. However, the unwonted attention actually fed my ego. I wrote it off as jealousy.

I was talking to my manicurist today, and she was telling me how her sweet daughter (though I haven’t met her, she seems like a true gift from God) was bullied for being both smart and athletic. This young woman earned MVP in Lacrosse, Soccer, and Basketball. Impressive right? The parents of other kids were so green with envy to the point where one parent called her a “stupid bitch” on the sidelines. My initial reaction was not just “that’s horrible!” but I did mention how in my old town in Massachusetts, the parents talked more smack about the kids than the kids actually did. And I’m NOT the first person to say that, which is the funny part. But nonetheless, what right does someone have to say such a thing about someone else’s kid?

This made me wonder: why do we live in a world where we constantly judge/are being judged. Why can’t we just simply observe?

Seriously. Let people go on about their daily business. It’s easy to be so quick to judge, but it’s a habit that you can break with ease. I learned how to do it within an hour after watching this video by Isabel Palacios. Like I said in my last post, you are entitled to your opinion without being an a-hole. There’s a huge difference.

Observe because you don’t know what that person is going through internally. Don’t judge because you’re only hurting that person’s self-image and self-love. Don’t say that’s “their problem.” You may feel entitled to judge, but that judgment is fueled by your own insecurities.

I 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.

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 💋❤

 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Wedding Attire And Getting Real About Love

It’s almost the end of my month, but tomorrow is the beginning of my other month (a.k.a my birth month). April is a time of awakening and a time for celebrating love. That’s right, I’m taking a break from the millions of things I have to do to talk about what I wore to a wedding yesterday and the inevitable topic, love.

You can watch as many of your friends and relatives walk down the aisle, and you can’t help but think: Could that be me one day? No doubt I had that feeling yesterday afternoon. As Kelly Clarkson once sung when she won American Idol, “some people search forever for that one special kiss.”  I can honestly say that wedding made me believe in love again. There’s something emergent about an April Sunday afternoon that just makes you think about all that stuff. I’m a writer/poet, so I kind of have to be a romantic.

It’s true: some people do wait what seems like forever for that one special moment. For some people, the process takes faster than others. I mean, hey, Gloria Steinem found her husband at a later stage in her life, and she absolutely adored him. I watched this Academy-nominated short film for my public speaking class called “Edith and Eddie,” which is about an older couple who married at ages 96 and 95. They were absolutely inseparable. Needless to say, the film nearly brought me to tears.

Confession: I tried apps like Hinge and Bumble, and I’m telling you right now, they SUCK. Never will I ever try Tinder — DON’T FIGHT ME ON THAT! So, after the wedding (and getting a palm reading from my friend), I decided I will wait the old-fashioned way, no matter how long it takes me, to find the one, and it will be absolutely perfect. I’m embarrassed to say that I even tried those apps *insert puking emoji here.*

Now to talk about something a little less heavy: fashion! A springtime wedding means bringing out the florals and traditional spring colors. So, I tried the mesh trend with a floral pattern in rose-gold.

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The platform heel that I’m wearing in this picture is also really in right now. Tip: always pack a pair of d’orsay flats — just in case you want to hit the dance floor like I did later that night. When looking for bags, I went for the metallic look, which is also in right now. Plus, it was big enough to fit the necessities.

Dress: Justfab.com

Shoes & bag: DSW

Hat: Amazon

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The Two Tips To Achieve Self Love

Unfuckwithable: (adj.) when you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself, and nothing anyone says or does bothers you, and no negativity or drama can touch you.

Sophrosyne: (n.) a healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, and resulting in true happiness.

I was originally going to post something about what I want in a guy, but then I realized, why focus on boys when you should be focusing on yourself? How can you love if you don’t love yourself?

This I realized when I looked at my RA’s bulletin board. The theme of her bulletin board was “Steps Towards Loving Yourself.” Two of the tips that stuck out to me were 1) Get out of your comfort zone, and 2) Do what makes you happy.

Let’s flashback to the first two weeks of the Spring semester, which were not too long ago. I would constantly confine myself to my room and just wanted to be isolated — only leading me to crying my eyes out. My mom took me out to dinner one Monday night, and she explained to me that her best friend from college was is in the same sort of “rut.” Her best friend was a piano major, so she decided to focus on her piano studies. Soon enough, she found herself performing in theater productions. How did she get that far? She set goals for each day. Even if something wasn’t happening the next day, she would make something happen.

An example of this (for me): the following day, I was invited to a poetry workshop hosted by renowned poet Tiana Clark (who told me I have a talent for writing and writing poetry). So that was something to focus on. The day after, I promised myself I would work on an article for my school’s newspaper, The Crier. 

Yes, I started writing poetry. I performed at three open-mics, thus far and was invited to another one next week. I even started uploading my performances to YouTube. I’m no stranger to showcasing my work, as I was an artist back in the day. Performing in front of my peers, Goffstown Public Library, and the East Greenwich Hotel, Bar, and Lounge was already one (or several) steps to branching out of my comfort zone. There was another thing I had in mind…

Believe it or not, I actually dropped reading at masses because I not only wanted to focus my attention on my English and Spanish studies, but I wanted to turn my attention to my women’s group, our partnering Social Justice Club, and my writing/journalistic career.

One thing I can tell my elementary school self: April, you don’t have to write pretend news articles when you’re older, and you’ll have your chance to be on an actual television set. I always knew I would go into entertainment one way or another. So, in addition to writing articles for The Crier and Her Culture, I decided to step up and take my passions for social justice and writing to the next level and joined the SAC Broadcasting team. On Tuesday I filmed my very first episode of my very own recurring series “All People Matter @ SAC” or “Hawk Thoughts.”

There isn’t really much left to say except to follow these steps towards loving yourself. Create your own opportunity every day. Step out of your comfort zone and pursue your interests. Because of this, I would not be as happy as I am right now, even if that means being stuck in your room writing this on a snow day. But hey, just doing what I love to do and loving myself in the process ☺