Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Peek Inside My New York City Apartment

I mentioned earlier this week how I utilized my Dad's camera to discover my immense talent for photography this past weekend. In one day, I snapped over 700 pictures including a little photo tour of my apartment. Now that I've reviewed my work, I've realized photography may remain a hobby as I don't think my pictures are going to published anytime soon. 

About a year ago, I did a series of post offering a tour of my expansive Charlotte abode. In reality, not expansive but when you split the post into four, you can make it appear quite majestic. (Check out this post for links to all of my Charlotte apartment tours.) Fortunately, I had more than needed in Charlotte and was able to bring majority of my belongings with me to New York for an easily furnished apartment. With the hardwood floors, I had to order a few area rugs, which I did 4th of July weekend through Overstock's 75% off sale. Additionally, I opted to sell my sofa and love seat in Charlotte for an upgrade to a sleeper sofa. (Hint: When you visit me, you can sleep on the sleeper sofa instead of snugging up in bed with me and Hens!)  Everything else, you'll recognize from my old place. Without further ado, introducing my NYC apartment! 

I've trained Henry too well. He spied a camera and instantly started striking poses all over the apartment. Initially, I tried to snap a few without him but decided he added a natural flair of perfection to the photos.



Monday, August 10, 2015

Proud Moments

These past two years, I have been consistently awed and inspired by my girls. With the collection of their college acceptances this spring and scholarships awarded since, I could not fathom being any more impressed and inspired by them than I was on our celebration day.

I know I should no longer be surprised, but being witness to their constant encouragement and support of each other these past few weeks has been captivating. While I'm proud of their accomplishments and accolades they've cumulated, it is their demonstration of character that has impressed me the most.

As the start of their college chapters are approaching, these girls have lifted each other up to new heights. Wishing each other well as they move to new cities, take risks, and defy the odds. Not only privately but on social media as well. They are genuinely proud of each other and how they are redefining their trajectories together. I think back to my own transition to college and how I selfishly only thought about myself, my transition, my evolution, ME. I thought about my friends and how I would miss them, but worried more about their recruitment processes for sororities than encouraging them to become advocates for our generation.

Then, I think about Paloma and this immensely difficult journey that she has traveled. While I've always been proud of Paloma and who she is and her college acceptances as an undocumented student, these past few weeks have blown me away. I've watched her grow into the strongest advocate for herself. She's arranged conversations with Directors of Enrollment and Financial Aid at Elon as well as Program Directors for The Dream USA. She's taken the reigns over her future and fought relentlessly for her education. As she's networked her way across multiple platforms for opportunity these past few weeks, the other girls have stepped up. They too are reaching out to advocate on behalf of Paloma and ensuring that they don't take their access to education for granted.

They think of each other before they think of themselves and most importantly, they think of all of those not afforded the same educational opportunities. For a group of seventeen and freshly eighteen year olds, it's refreshing. I'm eager to see the women they become.

While Paloma's journey is going to look different than initially planned, (she is going to defer Elon for a year while working with an immigration attorney and interning in Charlotte) I wouldn't change her story. These moments of upset and heart break for her have molded her into the young woman she truly is. She's powerful. She's relentless. She's inspiring. She has a voice. This activist she has grown in to is reflected amongst the other girls.

In a perfect world, they will arrive on their college campuses this fall and graduate in the class of 2019. As much as I would love this to be true, I realize that there will be setbacks and hardships along the way. Their paths may look different from each others and that's OK. Despite whatever challenges they may encounter, I know they will persist. Every failed exam, missed assignment, inevitable heartache, poor roommate choice, lost shower shoe, and missed leadership opportunity will mold these girls into exactly the young women they are meant to be.

They have my heart, always.



Sunday, August 9, 2015


Each week, I have intentions of sharing more on the blog and then somehow, it manages to be Sunday again. I'm going to make this post quick because I am excited for an episode of Gossip Girl before bed. Priorities. 

Last week began summer professional development for all staff. While only hour was added to the length of my work-day, it felt like a century. The work itself is exciting and meeting the entire staff, as small as we may be, is still energizing and I feel even more invested in my work. I've found myself snapping obnoxiously and practicing issuing demerits on Henry. "That's one for lack of urgency. We need to quickly return home so Mom is not late." As fun as it's been, I find the constant socializing to be draining. There's a lot of "turn and talk" "share out" and I even performed in a revised version of Barbie Girl (I'm a DP girl, in a DP world... Life at DP, it's so gritty) where I danced and sang on stage.  I'm proud of myself for pushing my limits socially and trying to build authentic relationships with my new colleagues, but am seriously considering coffee. As someone who is more reserved and introverted in nature, the increase in energy has effected me. 

My parents decided last Wednesday, to fly to New York on Thursday. I love spending time with them and feel like our time together is never enough so I was certainly eager for them to arrive. Mom and I did a 5k in Central Park with New York Road Runners. I am attempting to do the 9 + 1 program, run 9 races and complete 1 volunteer shift before December 31st to qualify for the 2016 Marathon. I have all of the events on my calendar, now I can't miss a step, literally. 

Friday morning, with my urgency to get to work, I slipped down a staircase in my building and fell down an entire flight of stairs. The bruise is one of the worst I've ever had and I've certainly been in pain ever since. It looks like the growing of the bruise has subsided and now it's going through a phase of changing colors. Seriously, it's awful. 

Since I was injured Friday, we stayed in and I shared with Mom and Dad the greatness that is cookie delivery. 

Saturday, I tapped into an unknown talent of photography. I had asked my Dad to bring his fancy schmancy camera as there have been a few instances when iPhone simply did not capture the moment to the quality of my liking. When Henry woke up Saturday, I thought off leash hours would be prime time for photo session in the park. 

Close to 300 pictures later, it was suggested I leave the camera at home. I went on a frenzy snapping Henry, my apartment (pictures to come soon), Henry in my apartment, the sidewalk, the trees, the seal lions at the zoo, and I may have possibly played paparazzi to my parents. 

I even ventured out from behind the camera, briefly. I mentioned it above but on Saturday we went to the Central Park Zoo. That morning, my Dad and I watched a series of television shows on various animals while Mom went for a run which spurred the trip. While most of the zoo was covered in tourist and I get very anxious around strollers, small children, and directionally challenged individuals, overall the park was enjoyable. We even threw it back with a Dip N Dots treat. Then, as we were getting ready to venture to our 4D movie, we noticed the sea lions were a bit active. That is when we discovered feeding time was only five minutes away which meant that I was knocking children over for a front row seat, of course!

I love sea creatures. I went to Sea World Camp. I've seen Blackfish. Say what you want but these sea lions looked happy and I was equally as happy to play with them. I'm considering making this a routine trip. In my perfect world, I'd live in a house with Henry, sea lions, dolphins, turtles, lions, elephants, penguins, bears, and monkeys. Basically, I want to live in a zoo where all of the animals are house trained, smell lovely, and forget the laws of nature that may lead to kill each other to live harmoniously with me. 

Sam arrived Saturday evening which was the first time I've spent time with my parents and my boyfriend. I know, I'm 26 and this type of event is usually covered in high school possibly and most of my friends are married, but not me. I was excited for them to spend time together but equally as nervous as it's important to me that they all get along and truly enjoy each other's company. Thankfully, I kept my awkwardness to a minimum and we had Krista, Drew, two bottles of wine, and countless stories of the times when Krista and I thought we were destined for Hollywood (thank you 2002 for no You Tube) and make home VHS tapes of ourselves performing or hosting talk shows. 

Lovely weekend but here it is, Sunday evening, and I'm starting preparations for a new work week. I will do my very best to post more this week. I know you're eager for more snippets of my photography. 



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Admiring Other's Passions

It's no secret that my biggest passion is education, in particular college access. I'm easily immersed in my world of excitement, that I forget not everyone shares my level for enthusiasm. Though disappointed, I have to remind myself that this OK. We weren't meant to all have the same passions.

I was recently reading this article on Barbara Bush and while at one point, I shared her excitement for global healthcare, my passion has now shifted. It's not that I'm ambivalent to global healthcare improvements, I find the work of Barbara and other similar to her to be quite fascinating, yet it's not my highest priority.

Last week, on social media, I was a bit disappointed in a few posts that appeared on my feed. While the magnitude of Cecil the Lion was certainly amplified by the media, if it's a cause that peaks someone's passion, and motivated them to speak out on an issue, let it happen. I do not see the value in belittling an issue someone cares about because you may find something else more urgent.

I'm motivated by education and self empowerment means to eradicate world hunger, nonetheless, I can still value the perspective of someone who may be motivated by global warming or elephants.

There are infinite number of causes to support and and choice is one of the things that make us truly human. We have interests. They aren't all the same. They're beautifully different which is incredible because it affords us the opportunity to learn from each other.

While I would love for CNN to do a Breaking News notification over the inefficiencies of our education system and the lack of preparedness among first generation college students, if people want the Lion, at least they are standing behind something.