Thursday, November 26, 2009

'Tis the Season to be Thankful Pt. 2

Although I started out with good intentions, I have to admit that my last post had a bit of a sour tone. And that is not the tone I want to leave you with on this day of Thanksgiving. Like I mentioned on Pt. 1, my journey has been an interesting one. Whether it was an up or down point, some things have remained consistent, and I am thankful for them:

-my family, who goes above and beyond to take care of each other's needs
-my friends, who each hold a very specific place in my heart
-each and every person who has contributed to my life and the person I am today; and everyone who continues to support me

Over the last year, I have been blessed beyond my own imagination:

-a successful year of Her Journey Magazine- a feeling and experience that I still have fully absorbed
-a new job that just feels like the right piece to the puzzle- I am happy, and I thoroughly enjoy the people I work with

I have been blessed tremendously at every point of my life. My heart is so full of gratitude, and the best way for me to express it is to share the wealth of blessings. 'Tis also the season for giving!

I'm off to my church for our annual Feeding of the 5000.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

'Tis the Season to be Thankful

Even though we have something to be thankful for every day of the year, something about this time of the year makes us just that more appreciative of the blessings in our lives. With the end of the year and the new year approaching, I got to thinking and reflecting, and I realized the shift that my life has taken.

This time last year, I was unemployed. That combined with the financial reality of entrepreneurship sinking in and the approaching holiday season, it was certainly a trying period in my life.

Two years ago, I was fighting to get home from school on my last dime on Thanksgiving Day.

Three years ago, I was mourning the loss of my grandmother and wishing she was here to celebrate the holidays with us.

Five years ago, I was in an unhealthy relationship, and combined with a challenging school semester, the journey home felt like a long one.

Seven years ago, I lost my grandfather, which certainly caused a shift if my family dynamic.

I share all of these not to whine about my life, but I am happy to share them because this holiday season, how many ever years later, I stand stronger. I made it through those seasons, and I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful because I know I’ll make it through whatever season I may be growing through now.

One of the absolute best ways to show true appreciation for your blessings is to be a blessing to someone else. ‘Tis also the season for giving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Going to New Heights: A Helicopter Tour

Since seeing Jasmine and Aladdin’s magic carpet ride, I’ve wished for my own way to transcend the physical limitations of gravity. While commercial flying is one of my favorite pastimes, there is something even more extraordinary about the way smaller aircrafts maneuver through the sky like birds. With my mother’s desire to see NYC from a bird’s eye view and my growing fascination with helicopters, a Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tour was the perfect opportunity to make both of our dreams come true.

The anticipation that built as we watched the helicopters taking off and landing was inescapable. We were so close but yet it still felt unreal. Walking up to the chopper with the excited danger of the blades circling only a few feet over head was only as familiar as what I had witnessed on TV, but it did grant me a glimpse into the lives of those ballers who hop in their helis to go from location to location.

As if I hadn’t already thought the New York City skyline was great, seeing it from a bird’s eye view certainly added a splash of amazing to the concrete jungle. Gliding along the Hudson River (where the miraculous landing took place) almost felt like a ride in any other plane at first; UNTIL the pilot turned the helicopter around, which felt like we were in a fighter jet showing off a fancy flying pattern. The view down the Hudson was magnificent.

Circling Lady Liberty, soaring right above the rush hour traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, all with the golden hue of the sunset was a breathtaking experience. (A whole new world would have been the perfect accompaniment; or that song from Reading Rainbow)

And the pilot gets two bonus points for a landing so much smoother than that of a commercial plane. He perfectly positioned the aircraft as if playing a video game and gently perched it down onto the landing pad.

Although there are a number of options, I would certainly recommend Liberty Tours. Everyone was pleasant each step of the way and genuinely encouraging of our helicopter experience. (City Sights NY also offers some great package deals that include bus tours as well as boat tours, but Liberty Tours offers a $15 online discount.)

Life to do list: fly in a helicopter. Check!

My (Ever Growing) Life To Do List

  • be a waitress DONE
  • start a blog DONE
  • go skinny dipping
  • sky diving
  • fly in a helicopter DONE
  • ride a horse
  • ride an elephant
  • ride a camel
  • swim with the dolphins
  • ride mechanical bull DONE
  • ride a motorcycle DONE
  • visit every continent
  • Brazil, Dubai, New Orleans, Chicago, Turks and Caicos, Australia
  • meet:
  • -President Obama
  • -Alicia Keys
  • -Russell Simmons
  • -Diddy
  • -B. Smith
  • -Queen Latifah DONE
  • trapeze
  • shooting range DONE
  • learn another language doing
  • learn American Sign Language doing
This is the abbreviated version as of right now, and it will continue to evolve very regularly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make it a Girls' Night!

In Letters to a Young Sister, Hill Harper uses the term "surface communication" in reference to texting, facebooking, tweeting, etc. Reading that got me thinking about the shift in our social interactions. While the convenience of these new advances can certainly come in handy, I think it is just as important to maintain the basic element of genuine face-to-face human interaction. With that being said, I thought it only right to do a post about Girls' Night!

Being an only child I was always drawn to groups like The Baby-sitters Club and Best Friends Clubs, and as an “adult” I still long for slumber parties and girls nights. With the prevalence of sororities and female bonding shows like Girlfriends and Sex and the City I find comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one who enjoys sisterly support.

Many of us take our girly gatherings for granted, but time with the girls can contribute to your overall well-being: helping to reduce stress, providing emotional support and extra motivation.

When you’re overwhelmed with your job and you’re tired of forcing a phony smile for your coworkers and boss, what’s better than to convene with your girls who you can shed all of the cordial layers with and just be yourself? Or when you’re fed up fighting with your boo, who just doesn’t get what you’re saying, you need your girls who you can hold a complete conversation without a single word, only grunts and glances. For example:

Girl 1: Spotting a girl whose orange underwear clearly should not be visible through her white pants, “Hmph.” (Translation: Oh no she didn’t! Why didn’t one of her friends tell her that wasn’t a good idea?)

Girl 2: Glances at girl 1, head cocked to the side and eyebrow raised. (Translation: I’m glad you said something because you know I don’t like talking about people.)

Girl 1 and 2: Simultaneous laughter. (Translation: That’s why I love you. You always know exactly what I’m saying.)

No matter what the reason, time with your girls can rejuvenate your spirit and recharge you to face those who don’t really get you once again.

Unlike Joan and Carrie and their respective posses, we do not all have an extensive budget for our social life yet. While a girls night out is always fun, a girls night in can be just as fun and more cost effective. Whip out the calendar and schedule some days for the girls:

Girls Night Out


Girls Night In

Dinner and a movie

One of my favorite girls’ nights included Max Brenner and Sex and the City, and that was all I needed.

Invite the girls over to bring a dish and invest in NetFlix or RedBox (DVDs for only $1/day).

Pamper Party

Try martini and a manicure at Beauty Bar, sip while you spa at Dashing Diva, or call SPArties to customize a spa package for you and your girls.

Call the Mary Kay lady! They do free product demonstrations. I recommend investing in the Satin Hands set for your at-home pampering pleasure.

Work It Out

Try exercise and/or dance classes together. Some places offer free classes for first time customers.

Pop in a workout DVD and work it out!

Dance Party

Thankfully, for a night out on the town, we ladies have it relatively easy because there are many “Free before __ for Ladies” nights.

Create a playlist and dance the night away. For you daring souls, try your luck at Dance Dance Revolution (also good for a workout).

Game Night

Who said adults weren’t allowed to play? PlayDate US provides just that, play dates for adults in various cities around the U.S.

Dust off the Scrabble board, whip out the Tabu and bust out the Twister mat because it’s on. It’s game time!

Girlfriend Getaways

Plan a trip to LA, NYC, Miami, Tobago, Paris, or wherever. You can find great flight/hotel/car rental packages using sites like Travelocity, Hotwire, Orbitz, Priceline, etc.; Greyhound and Amtrak are also good for a fun day trip, or road trip!

Visit a far away friend to enjoy the scenery in good company without the hotel costs.

When life’s too much, make it a Girls' Night!