May 27, 2015

Perseverance is Everything

Last week was a complete and utter whirlwind. So much happened in the span of two days. I was feeling really emotional about all of it, but I’m better to the point that I can blog about it. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, I graduated last week. Even typing that sentence requires me to pause and re-read it a few times.

I graduated.

After 12 years of studying, fighting, struggling… I am finally finished.

When I graduated high school I went straight to community college with a plan to transfer to SUNY Binghamton, my dream {no idea why} college. I was majoring in Psychology and loved every minute of it. With only 3 semesters to go, I dropped out. I wish I could kick my 19 year old self’s ass, but it’s water under the bridge. Life was happening and I was pretty much just tagging along. Too much partying, too many dumb choices.

I’ve always needed to finish school. It’s a desire and a goal I’ve had all this time. Not graduating wasn’t an option. Shortly after I moved to NJ I tried online classes… twice. It didn’t work. I need to be in a classroom. I need to take actual notes. I need to have the structure of a traditional classroom, even if I was scrolling through Twitter.

While pursuing my Associate’s I made the honors list during a semester where I was going to class full time while working both a full-time and part-time job. I didn’t grasp the importance of it. When I graduated with my 2-year degree in May 2012, it didn’t really affect me. Sure I was proud of myself, but I knew this wasn’t the end goal.

I immediately transferred to Montclair and started that fall. I felt like I was starting all over again. 2 more years was such a long time. Every semester brought it’s own source of drama – dropped classes; losing my sister; hard-ass professors; transportation problems; job changes; schedule changes… I dealt with it all.

Even back in December when I handed in final papers and exams, it didn’t hit me. Not having to register for the spring semester was more of a relief than an eye-opening moment. When I received my degree and certificate in the mail, it was nice but it didn’t phase me.

Last week I participated in convocation and commencement exercises. I was a mess. My parents came down Tuesday for the convocation ceremony where my college {Humanities and Social Sciences} had the names of each graduate read while they crossed the stage. Standing in line, waiting until we all made our march out onto the field, it took everything I had not to burst into tears. It was finally real. That night I cried myself to sleep.

Wednesday night was the formal commencement ceremony and while I stood in line in the basement of the Prudential Center, again, I did everything I could not to start crying. I didn’t hold my tears because I was embarrassed, I held them because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to stop.

Even writing this now, my eyes are filling. The emotions are overwhelming. This is something I’ve worked so, so long and hard for. To finally have made this achievement is indescribable. 

I am a graduate.

May 11, 2015

One Love Lessons

I've been back from vacation for over a week and I’d be lying if I said they weren't some of the happiest days I've ever experienced.

Now that I’m back, and I've had time to get back into my routine I thought I’d share. How do I even begin to show and tell you how fabulous vacation was when I know you don’t really want to hear about it? I mean, no one really wants to read vacation recaps because we’re all envious that we weren't on vacay. I imagine it should be like ripping off a Band-Aid – a quick and dirty version of a vacation recap.

1) The best sentence ever at 7:30 a.m. is: “Good Morning! Would you like a mimosa?”

2) Day drinking is even more fun when you have no idea what’s in your drink. I indulged in several Drink of the Day options and would make a healthy guess that rum was involved in several of them. Other than that… who knows. My favorite drink, the Bob Marley and Purple Rain.

3) I was made to live on an island. I'm surrounded by everything nature-related that makes me calm, peaceful, and happy. What do I need to do to make this my new apartment?

4) Sun block is my new friend. I say this with a heavy heart because I never burn but I definitely flew too close to the sun this time. Really though, it wasn't me. It was that beautiful Caribbean sun. I regret nothing.

5) I’m good at bocce ball. K and I played with some other vacationers during the week and I have to say, I’m pretty damn good. I told K that we need to buy a set and start playing in the backyard. He says no but we all know what that means.

6) Shoes are the worst thing ever invented and I hate them. I posted a status while we were in the midst of traveling home about just how uncomfortable they were.

7) Ackee is amazeballs. I have no idea what it is {Google, and Mom, say it’s a fruit} but it’s freaking good. Rasta Pasta is my jam. Funny thing, the first time I had this it was from Whole Foods. Apparently ackee is a highly dangerous fruit to eat according to a TIME article.
"If improperly eaten, though, ackee can cause what has been dubbed the Jamaican Vomiting Sickness — which, other than the self-explanatory symptoms, can lead to coma or death. Unripe ackee fruit contains a poison called hypoglycin, so preparers must be careful to wait until the fruit's protective pods turn red and open naturally. Once open, the only edible portion is the yellow arilli, which surround always-toxic black seeds."
8) Jamaica is a cash poor country. This saddens me because the people are so beautiful. Everyone I encountered at the resort and airport {and yes, I realize this is their job} was incredibly friendly and high-spirited. The average weekly pay is $5,994 J. Sounds pretty good right? Unfortunately that equates to $52.00 USD. My Red Stripe beer? $570.61 J… or $4.95 USD. I suppose the upside is that you could go over with $5k US and be living quite well for a few months.

9) Fish like me. I went by myself, and ended up having the entire boat to myself as well, but snorkeling was a lot of fun.

10) My mother is a "hop mess"
True story, my mother is allergic to everything. Pollen, mold, pet dander... you name it and she's allergic. Apparently she's also allergic to hops. You know, the main ingredient in that delicious nectar known as beer. Ergo.... "hop mess".

11) Retro is the way to go
I'm going to just toot my own horn for a minute so bear with me. Remember when I said I bought a retro styled bathing suit for this trip? Well, it was worn multiple times and I loved it to Negril and back. I'm ordering another one.

I'm already mentally planning my next island vacation. I'm thinking 2017 {we're both in a March wedding next year so that's going to eat up a lot of our budgets}. Any suggestions???

May 01, 2015


It's finally May... and Friday but I'm full of the post-vacation blues. We're keeping it easy today and taking some inspiration from Kay and talking about the basics of what has been going on...
Making: More time for the gym. I was thinking that since I'm back in the city I'd only be able to go on weekends {as if I would} but my gym has a location right on 40th Street that I can hit on my way to work. Win-Win!

Cooking: A whole lot of nothing. Actually, that's not entirely true. I've mentioned how I'm a total procrastinator in the morning. To be more proactive one Sunday evening I made steel cut oatmeal with apples. 

Drinking: Last year I discovered Rex Goliath wine. I fell for their Pink Moscato and am always on the hunt for it. Then I was at my local store and saw Rex Goliath Sangria. Holy deliciousness. All their wines are under $10 and really flavorful. 

Reading: I downloaded a few free Kindle books about chakras that I intend to read. I've become increasingly interested in self-discovery/spiritual awareness.... if that makes any sense? 

Wanting: A new car. You guys, I have the worst luck when it comes to cars. It's still many months off but I'm finally going to be in a position where I can get something. My main requirement? Sunroof!

Looking: To replace a lot of my wardrobe. I've forever been a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, and although that will never change, it's really irritating to look into the closet every morning and have no idea what to wear because there are only so many ways you can dress up a t-shirt. I need to start creating a wardrobe that can take me Monday through Sunday.

Playing: Clash of Clans like a boss. No really, I've been having excellent raids and I just finished my upgrade to Town Hall 8. {I realize this means nothing to 97.8% of you... and that's cool}

Wishing: That I could be back in Jamaica. It hasn't even been a week and I can't get that view out of my head. I'm already planning next year's vacation. And because I've never been, I'm thinking cruise!

Writing: I've been keeping a gratitude journal lately and although my list usually tops out at 6 things that pop into my mind when I'm writing, it keeps me aware.

Enjoying: Ok sooo... I kind of just discovered HIMYM. And I'm loving every minute of it. I'm in the middle of season 4. My friend tells me I'm like Robin... I can see what she means.

Wondering: Why summer keeps getting shorter and shorter every year. It seems like summer has just started and all of a sudden it starts getting cooler and then - BAM - winter is coming. On that note, I need to start watching Game of Thrones.

Loving: I keep stumbling on these Lego memes and I hysterically crack up every time I see them.

What have you been up to??