Thursday, September 24, 2015

Twenty Six

Once upon a time, I turned twenty six and celebrated in the least exciting way. While the start was far from pleasant, twenty six ended up being my most defining year thus far. I've been reflecting, as I do every year, and really trying to discover the best way to articulate my growth this past year. I came up with this, a puzzle.

I spent many days of my childhood at my Nana's house (great grandmother) while my Mema (grandmother) and her other sisters completed puzzles on the screened in back porch. They would spend hours each day working on one of their 10,000+ piece puzzles that took them weeks possibly even months to complete. I would try to be interested but after the initial gratification of finding two pieces that fit, five year old Danielle thought it would be much more beneficial to the morale of the group for me to perform self-made dance routines in my red tutu or create a mess of my Nana's kitchen crafting my original cheese sandwiches that I charged them all twenty five cents for or teach myself how to play the organ until it broke (I'm quite positive it never broke, they simply weren't prepared for my musical genius.)

Ok, back to the puzzle, I got distracted on a trip down memory lane. The past year to me is not a completed puzzle, because I am far from completing my puzzle, but in the past year, the small pieces came together to form one piece of the overall image. You know when you're doing a puzzle and the pieces come together to form a doll (I had a puzzle in my room growing up of many many porcelain dolls) and while you're not done with the entire puzzle that one piece of it is fully informed? Thats how I feel the past year was.

I think I was in search for something without really knowing it and each puzzle piece of this past year lead me to completing one section of my puzzle. Henry's liver disease. Attending the Forbes Under 30 Summit. Being featured on The Everygirl. Traveling to Uganda. Improving myself as a runner. Meeting Inslee. Hosting multiple blog events. Watching my girls transition to college. Pushing myself to embrace being uncomfortable. Developing a friendship into a relationship. Moving to New York City. Beginning a new career. While individually unique, each of these pieces came together to develop me into who I am today.

I'm more confident in myself and am excited to discover the next image in my puzzle. Though I'm ok with it taking a while to present itself while I enjoy this image.

Thank you to all of my friends and my parents who supported me persistently this past year. My puzzle would not be complete without you.

Cheers to twenty seven!


Sunday, September 13, 2015


This may be the longest break I've taken from the blog and honestly, I enjoyed it. School started two weeks ago, one of my best friends came in town for a week, Henry caught a contagious cough virus, and I'm desperately in search of a regular routine.

Our school was not completely painted until two days before school started and I'm still utilizing a fold up table as a desk. I share this not as a complaint but because I'm truly proud of myself. With my OCD, one of the things I'm most particular about is my space. Given that I've spent the past few weeks sitting at a fold up table, with no decor on the walls, and a fan blowing as high as possible while I still sweat, I'm proud that I haven't had a meltdown because not too long ago, this wouldn't have been possible. The complexities of the space would have prevented me from doing my work. I would have been incredibly distracted by the chaos and not able to function but, that's not the case. While, I'm certainly not perfect and I've battled my hiccups in adjusting and being more flexible, I'm proud of myself for accommodating the environment and not making it all about me and my anxiety.

Since it's been a month, I thought I would share my top 10 favorites of the past month.

Starbucks Refreshers
I know it's #PSL season but this summer, I discovered Refreshers and I'm obsessed. Strawberry Acai is my favorite, Very Berry Hibiscus is pretty delicious too but I also manage to find blackberries in my teeth. I know as the temperatures begin to lower, I won't want my daily iced drink, but for now, I feel so trendy popping in to Starbucks each morning.

Mile High Run Club

Think Fly Wheel and Soul Cycle (ok, I've never technically been to Soul Cycle but I think I've seen enough references) but for runners. It's a room with cool temperatures, upbeat music, fun color changing lights, and treadmills. I know I can run by myself for free, but I've become such a better runner since starting Mile High Run Club. My form, pace, and love for running have all improved. It's a great combination of running, stretching, and strengthening. Definitely one of my favorite work outs!

5th Avenue Mile
In efforts to qualify for the 2016 Marathon, I signed up for 8 races through NYRR. Since Mom was here for the Fun Run 5k, I did a race in Harlem, a France 8k through the park, and today I completed the 5th Avenue Mile. Signing up, I thought it was a fancy, chill NYRR race for all the other slackers like myself who wanted to run the marathon and only wanted to commit to one mile. Well, it's a full day event with Olympic athletes and media coverage. I was a bit intimidated but decided to see what I could do. I certainly could have done better but I proudly finished in 6:48!

Finding Neverland the Musical 

Geales and I decided to see a Broadway show while she was in town. I'd seen quite a few ads for Finding Neverland and since tickets were pretty affordable, off to the theatre we went. OMG! Favorite show ever. I laughed, I cried, I was amazed by the production and every detail that was thought through and there's dogs! The musical features four precious little boys with British accents, I fell in love and now I'm determined to be a Real Housewife of Broadway! Seriously, if you're planning to visit the city, I strongly recommend and if you need a companion, let me know. I've been working on memorizing the soundtrack so I'd love to sing along!

Tory Burch 
I haven't been shopping since I've been in New York except last weekend when Geales and I ended up in Tory Burch following a brunch in Chelsea. I'm considering how I can either a.) dress as a character in Times Square or b.) book Henry a modeling gig for extra crash to purchase these boots and this sweater.


I'm notoriously a slow reader. I have the best intentions in starting books, but always find myself falling asleep two pages in. I decided to opt out of TV for a bit and loved reading The Royal We. I was a bit skeptical as it's roughly based on Will and Kate except the main character, Bex, is from America, making it completely untrue and completely OK that I read it without destroying any of my day dream fantasies that is the perfection of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Pope Francis to Visit NYC
I'm not sure if I'm more excited or bummed about this. I truly LOVE Pope Francis and definitely plan to name one of my future children after him (just like I grew up going to Catholic school with many John Paul's... I doubt he will be the only one.) Anyways, he's coming to New York on my birthday. Recently, it was announced that he will be taking a drive through Central Park to see more people. If I look out my bedroom window, I can see the road Pope Francis will be riding along. I wouldn't even need a ticket. Over 90,000 people applied and 45,000 tickets were awarded and some are already going on eBay for over $2,000. It's a Friday and a school day so I will definitely be working and distracted but I'm quite upset that I won't get to see Pope Francis.

I truly struggled with laundry in New York until I found Cleanly. First, I tried a local place for wash and fold and dry cleaning however, they quickly destroyed by white sheets and took no accountability. After a lash out on Yelp and Google Reviews, I tried another service which was perfectly fine but I didn't love the ways my clothes smelled. I'm sure it was normal detergent but ever since I've done my own laundry, I've been committed to Tide Original Scent. So while the other service was great, my clothes never smelled like me and I always felt like I was wearing someone else's things or sleeping in someone else's bed. Dramatic, I'm aware. I did my laundry myself but its honestly so draining. I have to go downstairs, with my card and my detergent, set my timer to go back in 40 minutes then transfer to dryers and then set another timer, and well, again with the dramatics, I find it to be a pain.

Milk Bar Milkshakes 
My love for Momofuku Milk Bar is no secret. Recently, they unrolled a milkshake (made with their signature cereal milk) where they include three whole b'day cake truffles and sprinkles. Holy heaven! It's a $9 milkshake but it's worth lever penny.

School Blog
Lastly, I've expanded my blogging. Introducing The DPHHS Choice. If you're not a student at DPHHS, it's probably not as exciting but I can't wait to start blogging for my students. I'm sure they will all be just as eager as I am about college readiness and college persistence in no time! I plan to update once weekly, fingers crossed they enjoy it!

Ok, cookies and bed! It felt good to catch up.