Favorite [Big] Blogs

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 27
If you can't tell, I like blogging, but I almost enjoy reading other blogs more than blogging for myself. In my opinion, blogs are the best thing on the web. As part of the Blog Every Day in February Challenge, I'm going to share five of my favorite big blogs.

What is a big blog? A big blog by my definition is pretty much a professional blog. The blogger takes blogging seriously, and as a result she receives a income* and has plethora of followers. Posts are consistent and high-quality, and the blog has a "brand" that is appealing and engaging. 

She travels the world. She has been to a gazillion places and she shares tips and ideas that make travelling a reality for anyone. Her pictures are great too.

Joanna was a magazine writer and it shows. She has mastered the art of collaborating with other artists, writers, creatives, business owners, travelers, moms, and the list goes on when it comes to blog posts. She shares great advice and I love everything she has to say about New York City. Her blog has a unique simplicity and her posts never fail to be intriguing.

Melyssa was an expat in Japan and now works as a graphic designer and blogger. Her blog's branding is stellar and tastefully simple. Her posts are motivating and practical. She has done an amazing job building community in the blog world and promoting creativity! Plus, everything is positive.

Elise has a beautiful life. She shares projects that inspire me all the time. Her "Dear Ellerie" letters to her baby make me tear up. Her creativity and consistency is wonderful. She has her own business too.

And Kathleen.  Kathleen is creative coach. Her branding and blog style is one of my favorites. Her writing moves me. Her wit is genius. And she's a white girl with amazing blonde dreadlocks. win.

I have a few other categories for blogs I follow, including young blogs, medium blogs, and friend blogs. I'll make sure to share some of my favorites from those categories as the year goes on. 

*Income is a relative term. Some of theses bloggers blog as their career and others use blogging as a means to support their small business / endeavors. 

Sweet Sixteen

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 25: A Letter to the 16 year old me

Sixteen is the year you have been waiting for since you knew that sixteen existed! Sixteen has excited you since you discovered My Sweet Sixteen on MTV with your little sister during your middle school years. Sixteen seemed like a magical year, and it was actually pretty great, but I want to give you some nuggets of wisdom to make your 16th year even better. 
  • Driving is a blessing, but don't obsess over it. Most kids your age don't drive anyways. So relax. You'll fail your driver's test the first time, but you'll get over it. In fact, you'll get creative and develop a love for bike riding and and you'll even learn to ask people for help.
  • COLLEGE is not everything. You'll start to feel the pressure junior year, and even more so senior year, but don't stress. You'll get through it, and your plans will change. I hate to say it, but all the work you put into applying to nine colleges and taking the ACT three times went down the drain, because you completely changed your mind during the spring of your senior year. Oh well! 
  • Have some fun. You'll become a little bit of a workaholic during your last years of high school. Learn to live. Enjoy your weekends and enjoy your friends. 
  • Don't be surprised if some guys like you. Don't be surprised if most guys don't. You don't need a guy, anyways. 
  • Mentors are one of the greatest assets to your development, if not the greatest. Keep them close.
  • Don't hold onto money so tightly. "Treat yo' self." And others. 
  • Opportunities will come to you, but most of the time you'll have to search them out. Don't be afraid to make phone calls, send out emails, and TALK to people. Only good things will come from it. 
  • Don't be afraid to speak up. 

Guest Post from the West Coast

Monday, February 24, 2014

Introducing Anna
I'm excited to feature a guest post on my blog today. This post is coming from one of my best friends from high school, Anna. We did so much together back in school, and it's been hard parting ways after graduation. In fact, we went in completely different directions. She lives in Seattle and I am in New York. I'm glad we both have a place to call home in Minneapolis. 
Anna is currently a freshman in college and she's going to share a bit about her experience so far. She's a wonderful photographer and writer.

A Life-Changing Move

"I hopped on a train with my Mom to go across the country to college. It was hard watching the miles of land I was leaving behind blur by. Knowing I was going so far. But now I know three more things: many people have gone so much further than me; I am blessed to have a good home and family to miss; and going far has been completely worth it.
I won’t deny that things have been hard. They have. Leaving the familiar is seriously challenging. Forging completely new relationships and watching old ones wither away has not been painless. But I truly believe every hard time has taught me new wisdom, changed me, stretched me further than I thought I could go, and brought me closer to both knowing myself and God better. It’s been messy, but it’s been good too.

A Beautiful Place

Besides, sometimes a place fits you like your own skin. Seattle speaks to me like poetry. The beauty of the Pacific Northwest heals my heart every time I encounter it. There is so much to see here. Nature like I’ve never seen before surrounds me. Mountains, forest, sea. I am constantly awestruck. You should see me freak out over how green February is (I am often pestering my roommates with exclamations over it). Crocuses are popping up already. Ivy spills from every corner and moss covers each surface. It is green and alive here. It makes me alive too. 
The city is lively and bustling. I love the roughness to it, the old shops, the musicians on the streets, the graffiti and rust cast upon the walls. Art is everywhere. There is a sense of broken beauty around here. Knowledge that things aren’t perfect but still hope for restoration. The city seems to look me in the eyes with both sorrow and peace. I like its honesty.

Branch out
Opportunities for adventure are abundant. There are so many places to explore, nooks and crannies hidden away, just waiting to be discovered. Libraries, shops, markets, piers. A melody of culture, sound, and interaction. I like to walk along the canal which is nearby my school, sometimes to Gasworks Park. Lots of walking, lots of seeing. College has taught me to not stay cooped up or hidden away. Seeing the world is terrifying and wildly good.

To conclude, I really want to encourage you to take risks. Go new places. This faraway place has captured my heart. Coming to Seattle has been really good for me… good in a raw, difficult, unexpected way. Yeah, sometimes I feel like I’m torn between places. Like I’ve been cut in half. Pieces of me are left behind on parts of the map. Wherever I go, I will always be away from someone I love. It hurts badly, some days. But I do not regret it. Leaving home hasn’t necessarily meant I’ve found a new home. Home is simply different, stretched across miles of earth. It can be found in different places, in various moments and people. Most of all, I think I’ve learned that wherever I go in this wide world, I will never find a perfect place. Life and home come in broken ways, and that is a beautiful thing."

Anna attends Seattle Pacific University.
Check out her blog: Heartbeat

Scenes from the Weekend {Retreat}

Sunday, February 23, 2014

This weekend I had the opportunity to leave the city for a spiritual retreat in a quaint town in Connecticut. I joined a mentor and 3 other girls that I meet with on a regular basis to reflect on the path God has each of us on. We were led by a life coach through sessions and discussions. It was a joy to talk through our past, present, and future together. 

We had a snowflake theme for the weekend. The food was delicious.

The Ocean. The ocean! Those Tims go everywhere. :)

Love these ladies!

It stays the same.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 18: My Style

I'm supposed to write about my style. When it comes to fashion, I don't have much to offer. Sure, I can put on something cute every now and then, but for my whole “grown up”  life I've depended on a uniform to get me through most of my days. I looked through my iPone pictures to see what  I wear besides my uniform, and I ran into a problem: I still wear the same thing. Maybe my shirt is different, but my pictures from the last three months look like I have a wardrobe problem. Also know as having no wardrobe. Come to think of it, that is true. I have a small Ikea dresser and I share a New York-sized closet with two other girls. So I do have a wardrobe problem .
Sheesh! Even my bag and shoes stayed the same.
Thankfully, I discovered that I wasn't alone. Another east coast blogger looks like a sleeping bag during the winter months... It's what we got to do to survive. 
I'm anxious for spring to come so I can start wearing orange and floral. I'll stop wearing those Tims, and maybe I'll even strut around in these grapefruit heels

For the record, my roommates and I do NOT have a shortage on boots. 

Anything Goes Art {CC 3/23}

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

At first I didn't think I would be able to do this post because I had City Year all day. I didn't get home 'til 9:15 pm! This week New York public schools have off, but we still have to put in hours with City year.  Instead of the usual service, we are doing mid-year summit which consists of professional development, workshops and sessions to better our service in the classroom. Today, one of our sessions was focused on self-care. Our service is stressful and sometimes we just need to do something for us. In other words, we had the opportunity to relax. Some of the options were meditation, yoga, "chat and chew," painting, basketball, and other random ones. 
I joined the water-painting crew and enjoyed an hour of just playing with watercolor and paper. I wouldn't consider what I made art, but it definitely gave me the chance to let out a little creativity in a stress-free and relaxing environment. 

What self-care looked like for me:

Find out more about my City Year Experience:
A Day in the Life
What Fires You Up?

How do you self-care? Do you enjoy water color?

The Creative Collective

Juice Cleanse: Report

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I did it!
I did what I thought I would be impossible: a 3 day juice cleanse. I purchased juices from a juice press called the Squeeze, opposed to doing it the DIY way. I can honestly say that doing a cleanse was easier than I thought it would be! You can definitely do it. I had 5 varieties of juices per day, which included green and mixed pressed juices and raw milks.

How did I feel?
First off, I started the cleanse right after Valentines Day (friday) which was good and bad. I felt icky on Saturday morning, so I was eager to get juice in my system! The juice definitely helped get rid of all that excess sugar!

Several juices had aloe in them which made my skin feel soft! I also didn't notice new acne pop up during the cleanse.
I still had energy! I felt like I was starving myself, but I still had enough energy to go shopping and do normal weekend activities. I got some extra sleep too.
I felt empty inside, and that was a nice feeling.

What did I learn about myself?
  • I hate juiced cucumbers. I wish I knew that beforehand so I didn't get so many cucumber saturated juices. 
  • I need to always be prepared and think ahead. On Sunday, I spent all day (10 to 5 pm) with church friends in Brooklyn, but I only brought 2 juices! I got really hungry and felt a little weak. I also fell behind on the juicing schedule which was unfortunate; At least I was having a good time. Next time (if there is a next time), I'll bring a couple extra juices when I go places.
  • I have self-control! :) Even when I was tempted by some super yummy food, I said no each time. It's liberating to know that I have the power to say no. 

What to consider if you want to cleanse
  • Headaches? When I was picking up the juices the lady warned me that it would be very hard if I was a coffee drinker. Thankfully, I am not an avid coffee drinker so I didn't experience any withdrawal from caffeine while doing the cleanse. If you are a coffee drinker, be aware of the pain and headaches that you might experience!
  • I touched on this a little, but be aware about what veggies you like and don't like. Drinking the juices is already hard and if cucumbers make you gag, you might as well avoid ordering cucumber juices. Right?
  • Look on Groupon! My cleanse cost $119 on Groupon, which is very affordable in the juice cleansing world. Most of the 3 day cleanses I looked at cost $180  without a groupon. Juicing is very popular in New York, so if you live here you should have no problem finding a juice press you like!
Want more? Read my preparation post.

Do you think you'll do a juice cleanse? Have you done one? What was it like?

5 Things

Monday, February 17, 2014

....That make me smile!
New York has lots of book stores to discover.  Strand Books is pictured above. 
Simplicity and organization are so refreshing. Picture taken at the Container Store...earlier today :) 

The taste of summer!

Vintage clothes are the best! Vintage shopping in Brooklyn is also super great. I'll write more on thrifting/vintage finds sometime. 
I miss that face a lot. The best 4 year old right there. More on Shelby
This concludes Day 17.

Dream Big and Saturday

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Juice, juice, juice
I started my juice cleanse today. It's been way easier than I thought it would be...so far. The hardest part has been drinking the juice. I've learned that cucumbers in juice form make me gag. I feel pretty empty inside, but thankfully the juice has given me jolts of energy to keep me going through the day. I've had to drink lots of water to wash down the nasty taste of cayenne pepper and ginger that's mixed into some of the juices. 
I'm worried about tomorrow because I'll be going to a lunch AND dinner gathering. I'm going for the people, but it's going to be so hard avoiding the food when it's right in front of me. 

A Dream
I'm definitely more of a goal setter than a dreamer. Just wanted to put that out there. I don't like to dream about things that I can't envision actually happening.  
A dream that I definitely see happening one day is traveling the world by becoming an au pair or teaching English abroad in Spain or some other wonderful country. Studying abroad is also an option! Travel is something that most girls dream about doing in their life; I'm no exception. For now though, I'm loving every minute in New York City. 
photo credit: Katie @ Hope Engaged Blog

Day 15 of Blog Every Day in February Challenge

Happy Valentines Day: love?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 14: Happy Valentines Day

It's that day

I hope you're feeling the love. My co-workers brought way too many sweets to work today. Donuts, cupcakes, red velvet cookies. I'm going to have a hard time jumping into my juice cleanse tomorrow. gah!
Since it's valentines day, I guess I'll talk about a topic that crosses your mind when you think of Vday... love. 
Yeah, that kind of love. Those who know me, know that I have never had a special person in my life. I've had a couple crushes, but never a boyfriend. (I don't like that word, boyfriend. eew). I want to inform you that my relationship status is still the same: single. And I don't foresee it changing for a while either. 
And I'm totally okay with that. 
I've gone through sooo much change in the last 6 months, and if I threw a guy on top of all that change, I would explode. This is my first year on my own and I would like to keep it that way for a while. I still need to learn how to maintain strong friendships with my friends (new and old), family, co-workers, students, neighbors, and all the strangers I run into in the city. My plate is full with relationships (in a good way). There's just no way I could handle a dating relationship right now. 

And there you have it! 

What about you? Are you happy with your current relationship status? I hope so!

A Quote.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 13
photo taken at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens
When thinking about quotes today it's hard to pinpoint a "favorite" quote. There are so many out there. In order to narrow my focus, I'll think about themes that are current in my life right now. And by right now, I mean right this second. Well, there's blizzard taking over New York City as I type this, so I can probably get some inspiration from that.

Blizzard. Chaos. Struggles. Storms. 

Time to google! 

I found a quote by Vivian Greene that captured my literal and internal feelings. Stop WAITING for storms to pass. Storms come all the time. Only hoping for them to just go away doesn't help. It's best to take advantage of those stormy moments and grow from them. Now, I'm not going through a violent storm in my life, but I have a lot of stormy moments at my job that I don't know how to deal with!!! If I can figure out how to take advantage of those times, instead of waiting for the bell to ring, I will get more out of them and become a better person. I know it. 

What about you? Are you going through a storm? How can you learn to dance in the storm?

I wanted to share these stormy pics from my day...just because:
1) the snow in action. 2) lighten the mood with a sidewalk snowman 3) my roommate likes to taunt me. she's in college, so she had a snow day. 

What's in my bag?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 12
I'm not much of a bag lady. I only carry my wallet, keys, and iPhone when I go places. So I figured I should share what I carry around in my backpack during the work week so this post is somewhat interesting. 

1. My Student Portfolio Binder holds papers and data for my focus list students. 2) I have a super janky notebook that was ruined while walking through a New York rain storm, but it has important notes and information so I can't part with it yet. 3) Pencil pouch! 4) My stripey to-do and task notebook. 5) My laptop that is a little too big for my liking. 

1) iPhone charger. I'm at work all day and my phone needs to stay charged. 2) A book for the subway 3) my cute wallet with my MPLS button 4) A hairbrush. Because preteens make me pull my hair out sometimes. 5) Laptop charger... keeps it alive, plus if I charge it at school that means I don't have to charge it at home which means I save a few cents on electricity. :)


A Day in the Life

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Let's go to School!
6:00 am -- Wake up and get ready for the day. 
6:40 am -- Leave for school and walk to the uptown 6 train.
7:30 am -- First Circle and Power Greet the students as they come into school. Check in with students on my attendance focus list. Make sure students grab breakfast! 
8:10 am -- Homeroom starts and students work on the quote of the day. Students shuffle into the classroom throughout the 20 minutes. 
8:30 am -- Math time! I love working on math with my 6th grade students. It's definitely my favorite subject to work on. We are currently working on fractions, percents, decimals, proportions, and a whole lot of converting. During the class period I check homework, write on the board, and tutor.

10:00 am -- Gym class for students / Prep for the teacher and  I
10:47 am -- Social Studies or Science Class (these classes alternate each day). Students only have 45 minutes of social studies or science each day. We are learning about matter and the World Wonders.
11:30 am -- Lunch Duty. I try to stay positive during this time, but it's definitely the hardest part of the day because we function as lunch room monitors and the students get really rowdy. 
12:17 pm -- ELA (English Language Arts) class. I pull students out to read or I help them write papers. 
1:47 pm  -- Music class for students / Lesson planning and prep for after school
***End of School Day***
2:30 pm -- Homework help begins. We help our after school students complete homework. Students are divided by grade. 
3:30 pm -- Students have snack and transition/free time. 
4:00 pm -- Club time begins! I run an art club. We have a fitness, health, dance, and acting club for our students to participate in. This is usually my favorite part of the day.

5:00 pm -- End of After School. Clean up and dismiss students for the day.
5:30ish pm -- Final Circle / Break for the day / Enter data and clean up. 
6:30 pm -- I usually make it home at this time. 

More about the City Year life:
A Corps Member's morning routine published in 5 o'clock magazine.
The Corps Experience according to City Year.

There you have it! Be sure to click on the City Year Square in my sidebar to read more about my City Year experience so far. Feel free to ask me questions too. I gave a good overview, but there is a lot more I could say about the day-to-day experiences.

Required fine-print: 
These views are my own and do not reflect City Year or Americorps.
Because of FERPA, I cannot disclose the identity of students at my school; so no close-up pictures or names. 

Travel {The Dominican Republic}

Monday, February 10, 2014

Day 11: A Story of Travel
My senior missions trip to the Dominican Republic last year was my favorite travel experience so far in my life. I know I have talked about the DR on this blog before, but it makes me happy looking at these pictures. 

Team picture and friends
Mini carnival
My host family + Alandra

Tired people
Here's a Reflection and here are more pictures.

*Day 9, 10, and 11 are going to be published when I feel like it because it's that kind of week*

Links I like

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Weather - New York was just dazzling under a blanket of snow. These posts captured the snowfall well: Winter in New York and Blanket of White.

New York - I loved this article Don't move to New York unless... and this is the best subway map of New York I've ever seen.

Food - 5 amazing pancake recipes / Nutella Swirled Banana Bread / Balsamic and Veggie Couscous Salad

Fun Stuff- I want to make these. Fun  style tips for the nannies and babysitters out there!

An Article my City Year team wrote was published on DNAinfo New York! Proud of them!

*I am doing a blog everyday challenge. Today's post was supposed to be about music, but since I wrote about music on the 5th I'm just posting Links I Like for today.

A public encouragement

Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 7: A Public Encouragement

Am I supposed to write a PSA? I'm not quite sure what this prompt is about. It's also a friday night, and I'm exhausted from the week. So I don't want to take the time to figure it out. This week was full. I need to share some life updates soon. But right now my mind is thinking about one thing: bed.

I want to ENCOURAGE you to get some rest this weekend. If you're like me, you need it!

.....and that was your public encouragement. goodnight.

I wrote for 7 days. Here's a look ahead for the next 8 righting* writing prompts:

8. Music that moves you
9. A day in the life
10. What you are learning this season
11. A story of traveling
12. What's in your bag
13. A favorite Quote
14. Happy Valentines Day
15. A Big Dream

Oh wait, the post was supposed to look like this. Whatevs.


Make-up must haves

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 6: Make-up.

Make up?! I'm probably the worst person to tell you what make up to use. When I was googling images I googled Always blush.  I didn't quite find what I was looking for and then I realized it's Almay. 

Almay, Abby! Always is something else.

I don't even buy my own make-up. My mom does, and it's been that way since I started wearing real make-up. So yeah. Since she buys it, she picks it and I trust her. Most days I just wear foundation and powder. If it's a good day, I'll put on some blush, and if it's a really good day I'll throw on some mascara. 
Make-up just isn't my thing. It's not because I'm one of those girls who only believes in inner beauty, it's just that I'm a minimalist and I don't like spending the time or money on make-up. If I didn't have acne, I would probably hardly ever wear make-up. I thought living in NYC might change the way I view fashion and make-up, but it hasn't. Although, I try to dress a little more hipster. I still only use four pieces of make-up and they are pictured below:

No. 7 foundation-- It stays on well and has a nice color.
Mascara-- It needs to be waterproof. 
Blush-- I like a little pink.
Powder-- It hides the oils ??

Are you a make-up person? When and why did you become a make-up person? Do you use Bare Minerals? Do I think I should try that stuff? 

The Other Wes Moore

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I love reading nonfiction and memoirs. I picked up this book from my classroom library in the Bronx. I started reading a few pages and I was drawn in right away.

What is the Other Wes Moore about?
The other Wes Moore is an account of two men with the exact same name who grew up in the same city and faced difficult childhoods. They grew up in Baltimore in single-parent households and lacked resources. Each Wes made key choices in their life that impacted who they became in extreme ways. Wes, the author, became a Rhodes scholar, a war veteran, a white house fellow, and a business leader in New York City (I enjoyed his references to NYC and the Bronx). He is married and is raising a family. The other Wes took a small step forward when he joined job corps, but life was still hard for him. He had four kids with different baby mamas and money was tight. He had a habit of selling drugs, which was very dangerous. His story quickly takes a turn for the worst when he commits a terrible murder with his brother. I was on the edge of my seat while reading how the murder panned out. I won't give the details of the murder away here (you should read it), but it was intense and really foolish. The other Wes is now serving life in prison without parole. 

I resonated with this book because I see young people like Wes all the time in the Bronx, and I wonder who these students will become when they grew up. How can students living in the Bronx or other cities of extreme poverty overcome their circumstances and flourish? What is needed to prevent students from falling into a cycle of violence and drugs?

Where does success come from?
Wes, the author, admits that his life could have easily been the same as the other Wes'. At the same time, the other Wes could have led a successful life. Their circumstances were similar and they came from similar backgrounds. Wes' explanation for his success (and what he believes will bring others success) is summed up in one word: people. 
He says, "What changed was that I found myself surrounded by people-- starting with my mom, grandparents, uncles, and aunts, and leading to a string of wonderful role models and mentors- who kept pushing me to see more than what was directly in front of me, to see the boundless possibilities of the wider world and the unexplored possibilities within myself." 

I too credit all my successes to people that God has put in my life. Parents, mentors, friends, teachers, pastors, and family are the reason I am standing strong today. Those are the people who inspire me and help me push on. The students of Hunts Point (in the Bronx) need people to stand by them and encourage them. I hope to stand by some of my students so they will remember that someone is there to be an advocate and support them in life, especially in school.

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi pixel perfect web designs