This post was inspired byTHIS song. Great listen. I would highly recommend.
A day can make a whole world of difference in life.
Imagine a day something incredibly impactful happened to you.
Those few seconds of processing the information made a difference.
Now scale that to a year! Time changes a lot of things, as I’m sure we are all well aware.
On Valentines Day I crafted an Instagram feed post and stories sponsored by Saxbys. This is something I could have never envisioned myself doing!
Saturday marked one year since I moved in with my aunt.
Tuesday I attended the media party opening of the new Dim Sum House in Rittenhouse Square hosted by the public relations company I used to work for.
Although these things may not sound incredibly crazy or important, they are huge milestones for me.
I’m not one to be sensitive but while reflecting on challenges I faced in 2019 I’ve been nostalgic! I am incredibly proud of the woman I have and continue to become, the emotional and mental progress I have made, and the professional growth I have achieved.
At this point last year I was in the process of expanding my world. Previously the lens through which I viewed life was incredibly distorted. I believed I was fighting all of my battles alone. Everyone and everything was against me.
I didn’t realize it at the time but I was a baby bird with broken wings.
At the start of 2019, I was still enrolled at Drexel University and the new quarter was about to begin.
I took Introduction to Western Philosophy which I accredit largely to enlightening me on the larger picture of life. I forget the professor’s name but he was cool as hell.
Many of the belief systems and norms of Western cultures I was introduced to intrigued me. I was a great student for this course. I did most of the readings, participated in class, thoroughly completed the homework. I really enjoyed the course!
I was already familiar with the concept of self-reflection, or introspective thinking, but this class piqued my interest further.
Mindfulness, a state of awareness or consciousness, can be achieved through enough reflection and practice. This is a state of mind in which you’re able to truly think clearly.
It’s not a one and done kinda thing sadly. You have to learn about various methods and see which work best for you.
If you would have told me a year ago I would be preaching about the importance of mindfulness through meditation and self-reflection I would not believe you.
But ya know, 🎶 What a difference a day makes… 🎶
We must experience discomfort to grow.
My Pattern, an astrology app which I follow as religiously as Co-Star Astrology, has been telling me that I attract wild experiences.
I have indeed had some crazy life experiences thrown my way but to say I draw them to me is insane. However, sis isn’t usually wrong…
So I’ve been working on my methods of leadership to be able to control my life!
I cannot control what happens to me but I can control how I react to it.
Thanks Aunt Leen for saying that to me repeatedly until it eventually made sense!
Here’s to 2020! A year full of positivity, love, and growth for all!
Think about where you came from. Embrace where you are now.
I have two ways I will order this depending on what my coffee vibe is at the time.
If I’m feeling average I will opt for the iced espresso and add a splash of almond milk.
I also love cinnamon so if I’m feeling ~spicy~ I’ll mix in cinnamon powder!
If I’m feeling a coffee but not looking for the heaviness of milk or want something a little different I will get the espresso with coconut water.
It might sound strange but it’s good.
Don’t knock it til ya try it.
TIP I always ask for espresso drinks in the smallest cup.
CHAI COLD BREW
I love chai scent, flavor, Pantone color — all of it!
When Saxbys launched the cold brew line I was super excited to try this one.
Love at first sip. The keyword being first.
It was a tad too sweet for my liking.
Then I tried it dirty (added shot of espresso) and I was obsessed.
But if you’re looking to keep costs low this isn’t the option.
However, I recently discovered the half-sweet option which keeps the sweetness at bay while delivering just the right amount of caffeine at a decent price.
So if I’m looking for a pick-me-up I’ll get a small chai cold brew half sweet with little almond milk!
I mentioned in this older post that I am “spending the semester with Saxbys” as a Campus Partner! Saxbys is a bit pricey if you’re accustomed to getting huuuuge low quality iced coffee from other more accessible places. However, the quality of Saxbys is worth it! I want to help you get the best deals, dawg! I’ve taken it upon myself to sample the menu (food, drinks, snacks, etc.) and let you know what’s worth getting. 🙂
If you download the Saxbys app here you’ll get $3 off your first order! That’s a free double shot, y’all.
Call me a hopeless romantic — or a person who took control of their life — but I love finding silver linings. Having the ability to accept that certain situations in life are outside of your control is the key to inner peace and true happiness. Or so I’ve found. My worldview used to be much different than it is now. I largely attribute this positive change to my ability to search for whatever positivity lies in a heap of negativity. Even if you have difficulty finding something, you maintain the hope that something will be found.
The concept of “silver linings” has always been present in my mind. I have developed the ability to look at something that can be perceived so poorly by others, find the hope within and do my best to strive towards it. This was not always the case — I have chosen to view life this way.
Perception differs from person to person. Two individuals can experience the exact same event, yet exhibit completely different responses. This is because external factors play a large role in the development of our perception. However, what is important to remember is that perception and reality do not always coincide.
David Eagleman explains this disconnect between perception and reality in the simplest way. Look in the mirror. Move your eyes to the left, to the right, then back to the left. You never see your eyes move.
Although there is no evidence of gaps in your perception, critical parts of the experience have been edited out such as the visual experience of your eyes moving side to side.
An individual’s perception of the world is composed of previous experiences, expectations, context clues and other outside stimuli. Although these external factors are able to influence the way an individual views a situation, it is not the determining factor. Perception is able to be altered.
Not to toot my own horn, but I’m doing pretty well for where I’ve been. Early on in life, I was repeatedly faced with incredibly trying circumstances that many other people in my situation may have let consume them. Being an angsty and misunderstood youth, I often wondered why this — for lack of better term — BULLSHIT was assigned to me.
I stole a bobblehead from pre-K once and I returned it the next day, okay! WTF, world?!
I am not attempting to compare tragedies in life, but just to give you a synopsis of a few major ones so you know I’m not bullshitting this post…
I am legally an orphan in the state of Pennsylvania. I spent a portion of my childhood living in an unstable, toxic home environment. I have less than five immediate family members. And I was displaced from my childhood home, allowed only a few hours to gather my belongs, losing most of my irreplaceable childhood memories, aside from what I could fit into a cardboard box. And, fun fact, that home is now a settlement used to facilitate the re-integration of individuals with criminal backgrounds.
I think it goes without saying, but that shit SUCKED. However, here I am — still standing! Despite December trying to kill me. Much of my sanity I attribute to humor. In life, you must be able to laugh at yourself and the situations you encounter. Otherwise, you will be miserable and bitter. Believe me, I’ve been there. This is where searching for the silver lining will help you maintain your mental facilities! Seeing as I do not know what is plaguing you, I am going to tell you about the positive aspects I have found from the sucky circumstances I mentioned above.
Although it sucks not having your biological parents on this earth to see you flourish into the best version of yourself, I WOULD NOT be who I am without what I have experienced. I know I would not have been able to: attend my (at the time) dream school; have such a compelling personal essay topic; or apply to seven colleges and universities for free. Another positive aspect that is rather f*cked up but true is that whoever has the ~honor~ of ending up with me won’t have to deal with in-laws! Plus because of my incredibly small (relevant) family, when I eventually write and publish my book there won’t be many people to offend!☺️☺️☺️
These events also taught me crucial life skills some people do not develop until much later in life, if at all, such as: dealing with loss, becoming accountable for yourself, facilitating communication, and altering perspective.
If there is one thing you take away from my tangent here, look for the positive aspects in negative situations. It’s going to be hard at first, and I am not going to lie and say it becomes easier — you just become better at finding the needle in the haystack of nonsense. Remember to laugh at your failures, shortcomings and unfortunate situations! Do not fixate on or become consumed with negativity. For more tips on that, check out an older post of mine, eliminating negativity.
Hey there everyone! I want to share an idea that was conveyed to me through a book I read this week, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Lessby Greg McKeown. The theory is that we, as humans, do not prioritize enough time to allow our minds to “escape.” During these periods of creativity and/or rest, the brain activates synapses outside its typical radius, allowing the individual’s conscious mindset to expand. Yes; rest, because sleep is amazing!! McKeown mentions “Sleep Is the New Status Symbol,” an article in The New York Times highlighting that the most successful people in the world get 8+ hours of sleep. (both awesome reads)
McKeown hasinspired me to make a few lifestyle changes as we transition into the new year — 2020! I am feeling amazing about ending this final month of the decade and entering a new period of life. The remained of 2019, I am prioritizing creating space for uninterrupted thought in my daily life. Proudly I can say I have done this every day of December and plan to continue until it becomes a seamless habit.
During this 5 or 10 minutes, I will journal or meditate.
Yes, it sounds lame — I know. Just give it a shot. Allowing yourself time alone with your thoughts can seem daunting, but remember you are in control. During this time it is important to be aware of your breathing. Being in control of your breath is the most important aspect of being present.
When I am taking my time to escape, I spend a few moments working any stress out of my neck or anywhere else I may feel tense. Then I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I am always astonished at the capacity of the lungs. Feeling the expansion within my chest brings my attention to the shallowness of average breathing. Each inhale fills my chest with air, like helium in a balloon, with each exhale releasing some helium.
The goal here is for the balloon… (you)… to float… (relax). And while this works for me, this may not work for you.
Try at your own risk. I also make sure to set an alarm because sometimes I fall asleep. 😋
Yeah, I wanted to keep this week’s post short and sweet. Remember to be present at the moment and focus on the now. I have found taking control of my breathing to be incredibly helpful in centering myself.
As always, thank you for reading.
Talk to y’all soon!
Each October spectators from far and wide gather at State College, Pennsylvania, for the spectacle which is Penn State’s “White Out” football game. Hordes of people of all ages wander across Downtown, making their way towards Beaver Stadium. As far as the eye can see are students, alumni, families, fans and newcomers to football. Everyone dressed in varying white Penn State swag. Most groups carrying their choice case of beer or malt drink to enjoy at whichever tailgate they end up. Happy Valley is a cult. A fun cult, but a cult nonetheless.
Prior to this weekend I went to Penn State Main Campus one time for a visit during my senior year of high school. It is a nice campus and a nice area; however, it was not the type of environment I wanted for my college experience. Also, I would have had to attend the summer session and give up the opportunity to go to Hawaii the summer before my freshman year of college.
Sorry PSU but you were just not worth it to me.
I’m a city girl. Philly born and raised. I even have that 215-area code, so you know I am legit. Being here my entire life, I have been spoiled by the melting pot that is Philadelphia. I have endless food options available nearly any time of day, myriads of individuals from diverse backgrounds and pretty much anything anyone could need. I mean, sounds good to me.
It totally boggled my mind on Friday evening at State College as I scrolled through Grubhub to see my only options were pizza or wings.
(I ended up ordering from a place which sold a sandwich roll filled with diced grilled chicken a “chicken steak sandwich”. In the future I will be sure to pack more snacks, lol.)
As I mentioned earlier, I had no real knowledge of Penn State. I knew the white out game was a thing only because some of my friends attend the school.
I did not know how intense this spectacle is.
And I did not know the real importance of wearing white.
I showed up with an oversized navy blue basic “Penn State” hoodie a friend gave me, which I planned to crop. Ya girl wasn’t looking to spend money on a look I will never wear again.
This was a no. My friends said I would stand out, and I felt they were being dramatic.
Alec, one of my best friends from high school, is amazing and not only let me stay with him but also let me borrow a crew neck sweatshirt — AND let me crop it to better suit my high waisted jeans.
What. A. Man. 😍
Being as I am such a fashion innovator, Alec loved my crop top and wanted to rock one as well. 😋Love you, boo. 😘
Aside from the lack of late-night food options I had a great time in Happy Valley for a whole 36 hours.
Did I enjoy myself? Yes. Would I go back? Yes, I’ll probably go visit again in the spring.
Do I regret not going to school there? Absolutely not.
I must admit, I have always had that little voice in the back of head questioning my decision to attend Drexel University. They are just so damn good at marketing themselves and I ate it up.
However, something I have come to realize throughout life is that things do fall into place.
You may not understand it while it’s happening, but eventually it will start to make sense. Believe me, I know that in between waiting period sucks. I think the vast majority of us will experience a segment of life where we feel kind of like so much shit is happening, and you have no idea what to do… Then things kind of just start going right because of all the work you’ve put in.
It has taken my life 21 years to begin transitioning to the point where shit is going right, lol. Just like everyone else in the world, I have dealt with some wild stuff throughout life and it felt like the entire world was against me. Not to jinx myself, but things are finally where they should be.
However, life did not just begin to shift into place and work its own kinks out. With much persistence, effort and will-power I have dealt with the obstacles life has thrown at me along the way. I have flourished into my personality, am able to better vocalize myself without fear of rejection and I can truly say I love the woman I have become.
I am also incredibly grateful to be in an amazingly conducive growing environment at Temple University. It is amazing to be in a classroom with people who are partnered with Instagram, Maybelline, Clean & Clear… the list goes on!
These are real people. People like me. What?? Then I get to thinking, “Oh shit — this is something I actually can do…”
Transferring from Drexel University is by far one of the best decisions I have made. I am super thrilled with my experience at Temple so far and I cannot help but feel so much excitement for my future! 🙂
While my heart lies Temple, I will be reppin’ PSU pride again this spring. 😋
I have been hearing about this book and how awesome it is for a little over a year now. But I’m one of those people who when so many people are hyping something up I’m like, “Nah I’m good.” Then I get onto the trend late and bother my friends about it months after the craze has died down. (Shoutout to my friends. I love you peeps!!) So I finally picked up the book a few weeks ago and damn it, I have not been able to stop thinking about it! Manson and I seem to view life in the same sick and twisted way, which causes me to love the book even more obviously.
One of the main concepts which has stuck with me is the inevitability of death. Manson’s final chapter is titled, “…And Then You Die”. It discusses the tragic death of one of his childhood best friends which put him face-to-face with the reality of death. Fitting title.
Death is a fact of life which we cannot escape, yet it remains such a taboo subject when it involves us personally. Why? Because humans are naturally conditioned to be averted to things they are not able to fully understand.
The question of what happens after death is one which perplexes each individual at least once in life, no doubt. I don’t just mean what happens after in the sense of heaven or hell, reincarnation or vast nothingness — I mean the question of how will the world continue without you in it. What is your legacy? What, if anything, are you leaving behind to be remembered by? Manson divulges further into this idea of how an individual’s personality will outlive their physical self throughout the chapter. He makes a point that THIS is the aspect of death people tend to struggle with. If you really think about it, it is pretty damn daunting.
I believe most people would argue that if you’re lucky, you won’t have to experience the intense hardships of life, such as death, until you’re older and presumably more emotionally equipped to cope. I strongly disagree. Why is it a debate if a kid is going to be present at a wake / viewing / funeral? Sheltering a child from the world and its harsh truths is going to do nothing but prolong the inevitable… The strongest people I know are the ones who have experienced rough shit, processed it, grew from it and kept living despite it.
“People no longer realize it’s okay for things to suck sometimes.”
– Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
It is too damn true. We live in a world where everyone is supposed to do amazing things, be wonderful people, cure cancer, all that jazz. However, if we don’t fulfill these roles imposed upon us then we feel as though we have failed. Generally speaking.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been reading Co-Star Astrology daily for the past five or six months, and when I say this thing is scary relevant to my life, it is….
A few weeks ago, Co-Star’s message had mentioned the importance of “crying when you’re happy”. When I initially read it I’m thinking, “Why would I want to cry?” However, after processing it I’ve come to understand this to mean that even in times when you’re elated with happiness, you still have to understand and feel sadness. Being able to empathize with pain, or tragedy, helps you to appreciate life. You are forced to recognize your own mortality, whether you’re ready or not. And while this can be terrifying, once you’re face-to-face with the fear of death your perspective on life shifts.
Manson recounts his visit to the Cape of Good Hope on the coast of Cape Peninsula in South Africa. He talks about how he walked past the areas he wasn’t supposed to, going against his every instinct and sat on the edge of the cliff. Dangling his feet 820 feet above sea level.
Manson says in that moment he has never felt more alive.
I had a similar experience at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. I’m sitting on the edge of the cliff. My feet dangling 702 feet, so not as high but still damn intimidating. And as I’m sitting there I can’t help but peer over the edge, looking down into the abyss of murky fog. I can see nothing below. My heart was racing, my palms sweating and everything else that physically goes along with being incredibly panicked. But I wasn’t scared.
I understood Manson — I felt alive. More so than ever. ☺️
I would like to begin this post by disclaiming I am not at all an astrological die-hard. Prior to this year, my extent of interest in horoscopes was reading mine if I happen to be flipping through a magazine. However, anyone who is close to me can attest that Co-Star Astrology is now my religion. No literally, my aunt has said that multiple times now… Co-Star is an app which uses your date and time of birth to pretty much predict your whole live. No exaggeration.
First, let me explain what Co-Star actually is. The company describes their application as a “hyper-personalized, social experience bringing astrology to the 21st century.” Whatever that means. Pretty much you input your birth date, time and place (state) then using NASA data, photos of the sky at the time you were born are generated. Based on this, the special voodoo magic maps out the whole damn solar system arrangement from when your infant body entered this world. I don’t know what the hell happened, but Co-Star knows me better than I know me! I am hooked and have dragged so many of my friends into the cult with me. (LOVE YOU ALL!!) But that is a whole other topic which I can go on about FOREVER. But dude, I’m telling you, Co-Star is the bitch who straight up calls you out on your shit and you hate her because you don’t want to hear it, but at the same time… you know she isn’t wrong…
Download it here. It’ll change your life. I’m going to be honest right now… prior to writing this, I did not really understand the algorithm of Co-Star. I was content with thinking it was my CIA agent spying on me. However, I digress.
I was lounging on the bench in my backyard sipping coffee and reading through Co-Star, as I normally do. Now, it is important to understand Co-Star gives you A LOT of information to read through — it’s not your typical one or two liner. And religiously, each morning I read through and take note of anything that particularly sticks out to me.
“Remember how far you’ve come. Write a eulogy for your past self.”
Again, for those of you who know me personally or even those who have read previous posts — I have changed a lot as a person in the past 12 months. Hell, I’m not the same person I was a month ago! Life moves on, people grow, all that good stuff.
Anyway, I began thinking a lot about it: “Remember how far you’ve come. Write a eulogy for your past self.” After awhile of mental brainstorming, I mustered up the courage to put my thoughts on paper. Now here I am, taking another step by actually fleshing out the idea in a Google Doc, presumably to be posted for public viewing.
Wild, I know. So hey, if you are not me and you are reading this: Woot woot! Go Alex! You did it! 🙂 As I mentioned, it took me months to put the initial thoughts on paper! So as you could imagine, I have been apprehensive to share these thoughts so publically.
I wish I could experience the bliss that is naivety again — even just briefly. You thought you knew it all. There is so much you have yet to find out about everything. Be kind to yourself, babe. Don’t just promote self-love, actually learn to love yourself. Stop repressing who you are for fear of ridicule. You are your own worst critic.
Learn how to validate yourself rather than relying on others to validate you. You can’t love anyone else until you’re able to love yourself. And although I would love to believe simply telling you this is enough to help you avoid the inevitable troubles ahead, it isn’t. You are going to have to experience these hardships in order for them to make an impact. There are going to be times when you are going to question why this bullshit happens to you; just keep on keeping on.
Although you may feel as though the entire world is against you, it’s not — give people a chance! Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised. Remember that it is okay to rely on others. It is okay to build relationships; intimacy has many facets. And no, vulnerability does not equate to weakness. It is impossible to be a great leaders to others until you identify and establish who you are.
Be more in tune with your attitude. Take notice to who is surrounding you when you are most happy or most fearless. Keep those people near and dear to you. However, remember relationships expand and contract. Whomever is meant to be in your life will be there in the way they were meant to be, although you may not understand it at the moment. With that in mind, value the people in your life. Be kind to all — you never know who someone may be to you someday. And while I feel as though there is so much more to say, it doesn’t really matter what I do or do not divulge… you won’t truly learn until you deal with the situations first-hand. You are smart, beautiful, amazing and everything else that goes along with that. Remember that always.
One of the main reasons I was so apprehensive to do this is because, in all honesty, I felt it was kind of dumb. I was wrong. I KNOW, I SAID IT. Seriously though… knowing what I know now, I would have so much advice for myself. The question is — would I change my choices? No, I would not. What I have been through is what has made me, me. And I am finally proud to say I am in a place where I love me.