Skin Care | Winter Routine

Fashion, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

PicsArt_01-15-10.21.20I love discovering new skin care tips and ideas so it’s my pleasure to be sharing my affordable winter skin care routine this week in collaboration with one of my favorite beauty bloggers Emily Burns. Her blog emilyburnsmua features make up tips, reviews and tutorials where she inspires her followers’ make up techniques and creativity.

Collab Feature | Emily Burns

Although most of us look forward to the winter season for enjoying the holidays with family and friends and playing in the fluffy snow, for some of us it also means dry, itchy skin, cracked lips and ashy elbows and knees. The crisp winter cold can be so harsh on our skin, that we lose moisture at a much faster rate, leading to the weakening of the protective top layer. It is very important that we take extra care of our skin throughout these cold winter months focusing on ways to help keep our skin moist and protected.

MiraBelle’s Winter Skin Care Routine

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1. St. Ives Apricot Scrub $5.49USD

I absolutely love apricot scrubs. As a kid, I remember seeing my mom using St. Ives Apricot Scrub as part of her night time skin care routine, I guess the apricot doesn’t fall too far from the tree. This blemish control oil free scrub is a great way to exfoliate away dead skin, make up and dirt giving me a deep clean leaving my skin feeling fresh and smooth. This scrub helps treat and prevent my acne and blemishes and it has  also  helped minimize the appearance of pores on my cheeks and nose leaving my skin looking smoother and clearer over time.

2. Proactiv Revitalizing Toner $24.99USD

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be mixing products, but this is one of the few toners that has worked well with my skin. I have tried Neutrogena, Olay and Clean and Clear toners in the past however they didn’t do much for me. After my first 6 weeks of using this proactiv toner I noticed a significant difference in the evenness of my skin and complexion. Fortunately for me, during the winter I rarely break out so I prefer to use toner no more than twice a week to avoid dryness and irritation. On the other hand, during the summer months I would break out almost every day so I would ultimately use it every day as well. 

3. St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer $5.49USD

Oh the woes of combination skin! During the summer my skin would mostly be very oily, especially in my T-zone, but in the winter time, it’s the complete opposite, my T-zone can get very dry and itchy if I don’t moisturize well. I have discovered that although collagen moisturizers are mostly used to help combat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it’s also a great way to add suppleness and moisture to cracked and dried out winter skin. 

4. Aloe Vera Vaseline $1.49USD

One of my biggest winter skin problems is having dry, chapped and peeling lips. It’s so unattractive and uncomfortable. The top most layer of our skin is called the stratum corneum,  this layer of skin is far thinner on our lips than it is anywhere else on our body. Our lips also don’t have any sebaceous glands to keep our skin stay moisturized, so the only source of moisture is saliva. Thank goodness for the wonders of Vaseline! Any type of petroleum jelly can be used as a great moisturizer to help soothe and protect our precious stratum corneum. My favorite petroleum jelly used to be Vaseline’s cocoa butter jelly but now I’m absolutely loving the fragrance of the hydrating aloe vera version for my lips.

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1. Dove Beauty Cream Bar $1.29USD

I started using dove bar soaps and body washes three years ago and I have not turned back since. They’re so thick, creamy and luxurious. I usually buy the 12 -pack fragrance free bar soaps for sensitive skin for about $9.99USD but I always wanted to try this pink beauty bar version so I bought a single box at the beauty supply store and it works just as well. 

2. Vaseline Pure Baby Petroleum Jelly $5.99USD

Of course I must also use this magical wonder on my body as well. Every morning after my shower and every night before bed I massage Vaseline onto the soles of my feet, my knees, my elbows and my back to keep these areas that are prone to dryness soft and well moisturized. 

3. Lubriderm Daily Moisture $10.99USD

I definitely appreciate the non-greasy thick creaminess of Lubriderm’s lotions that leaves my skin feeling super moist and hydrated. This daily moisture lotion for normal to dry skin is enriched with vitamin B5 and mineral oils which helps naturally restore softness and brightness with every use. 

4. Bath & Body Works Body Lotion $13.50USD

Since I usually prefer to use fragrance free soaps and lotions, I always have scented options on hand for when I choose to indulge in the amazing scents that bath and body works has to offer. This sweet and sensual black current and vanilla lotion from their aromatherapy collection is genuinely therapeutic. I usually use this particular fragranced lotion when I’m having me-time spa days at home and even on special date nights, yes they smell that good.

I hope you enjoyed this detailed outline of my affordable and practical winter skin care routines! Don’t forget, this is a collaboration so go check out Emily’s blog about her skin care routine!

Food & Drink| Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea

Food, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Cinnamon Spice

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Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea has to be my absolute favorite spice tea, especially around the winter time. Not only does it taste and smell amazing, it also has great health benefits as well. Bay leaves are rich in iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A and C. Enjoy a hot cup of Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea before bed as it soothes and relaxes tension and anxiety. These three ingredients are best known for improving digestion and they also help recharge the immune system. Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and helps to improve the circulation of blood due to the presence of blood thinning properties. This blood circulation will also help to significantly reduce pain and ensures oxygen supply to the cells, which leads to higher metabolic activity. Whether you enjoy this spicy and fragrant tea sweetened or unsweetened, day or night, it will surely leave you feeling relaxed, calm and ready for anything. 

 

 

Food & Drink | Ginger-Lemon & Clove Tea

Food, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Lemon Ginger Spice

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Ginger-Lemon & Clove Tea is a natural and organic way to help soothe those winter cold and flu symptoms like congestion, nausea and sore throat. These three ingredients have natural medicinal qualities that create a spicy citrus elixir which also acts as an antioxidant providing vitamin C that helps boost your immune system. Even outside of cold and flu season, this tea is a great pick-me-up in the mornings which may even help kick caffeine dependency. Usually, because of it’s tanginess, this recipe calls for some form of sweetener like honey, agave or brown sugar, however, if you’re trying to moderate your calorie intake this tea can be enjoyed unsweetened as well.

Culture | Is H&M Up To Some Monkey Business?

Culture, Education, Fashion, Lifestyle, Music, Uncategorized

H&M is under major scrutiny for what many are claiming to be a racially suggestive hoodie. It didn’t take long for social media to catch on to the fashion brand’s biggest uh-oh yet. Black Lives Matter advocates accused H&M for its blatant racist imagery and slammed them for trying to subliminally make fun of the young model.monkey-hoodie

The billion dollar Sweden based retailer, with stores all around the world, even issued an apology over the controversial image of a young black child modeling a hoodie with the words “coolest monkey in the jungle” printed on it. A spokesperson for the company told the EW on Monday, “We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. We have removed the image from all our channels and the sweater is no longer for sale in our stores. We will also look into our internal routines to avoid such situations in the future.” 

The likes of Lebron James, Diddy, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku and even The Weekend who also partners with the retailer expresses outrage and disappointment at the company’s carelessness.

Screenshot_2018-01-09-11-59-00Lebron James uploaded this remake of the photo to his instagram saying, “@HM u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up! Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!!” Many of his followers expressed the same sentiments yet some were a little reluctant to see his point. One of his followers said, “I don’t think @HM meant to offend anyone people come on. Shit happens!!!! Why is this being taken as racism? It’s a picture man, the parents obviously allowed the kid to take that picture wearing that hoodie. Didn’t offend them! Are we that sensitive as a society?”
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Diddy also uploaded a similar photo to his twitter with the caption, “Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful.” He too received a mass of tweets, retweets and comments agreeing with his position on the matter yet there were also those who disagreed with the general opinion. 

Was this really just a careless accident? Or was H&M intentionally trying present the image of this  young model as the butt of their monkey joke? Regardless of their intent, what remains true is that in 2018, race is still a major defining factor in the way we view others, but more importantly in the way we view ourselves. This “coolest monkey in the jungle” caption became very personal to those who took offense but the question must be asked, if the model in the ad was white, would the picture still receive the same response? What if the caption said “coolest lion in the jungle” would it still create the same negative connotation against black people? 

Is it the unforgettable knowledge of slavery and the negative comparisons of the features of a black person and that of a monkey what makes this advertisement racist?Understanding that history plays a major role in the way society sees race and color, will there ever come a time when a person’s race or the color of their skin not predicate one’s judgement? 

Music | 90s Feel Good Music Mix

Culture, Lifestyle, Music, Uncategorized

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The 90s was an era of a musical explosion! Not only did dance pop experience a major culmination in the 90s, the development of hip hop gave life to a whole new culture with it’s own trends that infiltrated age, race and class barriers. Regardless of the genre, the 90’s is definitely well knows for feel good rhythms and lyrics.

Check out my Spotify 90’s Feel Good Mix and enjoy a combination of my favorite pop, r&b, hip hop and rap hits of the 90s. I tried to make a condensed mix of some of my top favorites, but of course there are so many great 90s hits out there. What’s your favorite? After you bump to my playlist make one of your own and share it with me! 

 

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1. TLC | Waterfalls

 

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2. Bell Biv De Voe | Poison

 

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3. Adina Howard | Freak Like Me

 

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4. Brandy | I Wanna Be Down

 

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5. TLC | No Scrubs

 

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6. Destiny’s Child | Jumpin’ Jumpin’

 

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7. J.Lo | If You Had My Love

 

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8. Genuwine | Pony

 

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9. Janet Jackson & Beenie Man | Feel It Boy

 

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10. Aaliyah | Back & Forth

 

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11. Michael Jackson | Remember The Time

 

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12. Montell Jordan | This Is How We Do It

 

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13. Notorious BIG | Juicy

 

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14. TuPac | Changes

 

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15. TuPac | Keep Ya Head Up

 

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16. Tweet feat. Missy Elliot | Oops

 

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17. Usher | You Make Me Wanna

 

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18. Naughty By Nature | Hip Hop Hooray

 

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19. Fugees | Ready or Not

 

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20. Macy Gray | I Try

 

 

 

 

 

Skin Care | DIY Cinnamon Sugar Scrub

Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

 

IMG_3165editWho doesn’t love some good DIY fun? Especially when it caters to our pampering and relaxation needs! Have you ever noticed those expensive sugar scrubs that are used in those fancy spas? You could probably even find them in your local department or beauty supply stores, but one thing is for certain, they definitely do wonders for your skin.  Natural homemade sugar scrubs are becoming a trend among beauty bloggers and this special recipe will surely convince you too. This recipe is a perfect remedy for that dry, itchy winter skin that we all dread so much and it also has natural anti-aging ingredients as well.

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Cinnamon Sugar Scrub Ingredients 

1/2 Cup Natural Brown Sugar Acts as an exfoliant to remove dirt and dead skin 

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil | Natural moisturizer with antibacterial and anti-fungal agents

1 Tbsp Olive Oil Fights wrinkles and helps soothe itchy, inflamed or damaged skin

2 Tbsp Cinnamon Mild acne and blemish treatment for sensitive skin and also helps restore suppleness and elasticity to the skin 

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After using this awesome easy DIY Cinnamon Sugar Scrub your skin is left feeling soft and silky smooth! You can even store your scrub in an air tight mason jar for up to five days. I absolutely loved making this affordable sweet scrub and it isn’t just for your face, you can use it in the shower to exfoliate your body and feet as well.

If you liked this DIY post try it, send me pics and tell me what you think! And don’t forget to like and share this blog with your friends. 

 

 

Happy Holidays | Should I Make a Resolution?

Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

 

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I hope you guys are ready for it, be on the look out for those “new year, new me” posts on social media! You know how we get around this time. Funny thing is, I was never really the type to take new year resolutions seriously until last new year’s eve. I had only made one resolution last year which was to live a healthier and more social lifestyle. But wait, before you go assuming that I was one of the many who makes it to the gym every day for January and never returns in February, my resolution wasn’t about the gym and exercise. I wanted to break out of my comfort zone. I had planned to dig myself out of this rut of laziness and depression. I wanted to go on hikes, go jogging around the hudson, take a zumba or salsa class and I even bought a bike over the summer. But the ugly truth is my intention was bigger than my dedication. I had the ultimate motive but I lacked motivation. I allowed my energy and drive to be sucked up by school and work which unfortunately left little determination for my resolution to be resolved.

Apparently I was so sure of myself that I made a vision board, so what’s even more disappointing is that I have proof of all the zest and potential I saw in myself and yet when I look in the mirror, I still see the same boring, lame person I was through 2016.

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Not much has changed this past year. I joined a couple clubs at school which I barely participate in, I probably rode my bike three times and the only time I ever jogged was if I was run-walking to catch the bus to work or school.

Well, it’s almost new year’s eve and I’m thinking to myself, “Should I make a resolution?” I think I want to achieve the same goals I set out for myself this past year, yet I need to work on planning realistic ways to execute them. It’s not like I have some unrealistic pipe dream that I couldn’t reach with a ten foot pole. I think a more active and social lifestyle isn’t to much to ask of myself. After all, I am trying this lifestyle blogging thing, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t have a “life” right.

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So here’s the plan, instead of making a vision board with goals I’d want to accomplish over a year, I think setting daily or even weekly goals would be an easier way to achieve my long term ideals. It’s like cross fit trainers who have their WOD–work out of the day plans. Except I’ll have a VOD, vision of the day plan, basically mapping out my daily and weekly short term goals. Seems doable right? And hey, maybe I’ll take a cross fit class just for good measure. Making a lifestyle change is definitely a process that needs time but also consistent effort. I know old habits are hard to change but it’s nothing that some good old planning can’t fix.

Do you have any new year resolutions? If you’re like me, having failed this past year, why not try the same resolutions but find new ways to achieve them? Let not your heart be troubled or discouraged my dear reader, it can be done! I wish you all the best and the most success for the new year.

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Happy Holidays| Single for the Holidays

Lifestyle, Relationships, Uncategorized

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Being single for the holidays had never made me more certain that I want to have a family of my own someday. I literally feel like the Christmas grinch, but instead of stealing Christmas, I am being forced into solitary confinement while everyone else spends a holly jolly Christmas with their loved ones. My instagram feed is a constant replay of mommies, daddies and their kiddies in ugly matching pajamas, baking stupid Christmas cookies and decorating their dumb gingerbread houses. Ughh it’s so sickening and yet I want it all. Around this time, 25 years ago my mom, who was also 25 at the time, was celebrating her first Christmas as a family with my father and I. Shouldn’t it be my turn by now?

I’ve always heard that Christmas is for the children, and I am starting to agree, without any little kiddies around me to buy presents for, it feels like just anther day. I don’t mean to seem shallow, obviously Christmas is more than just a holiday for gift giving but it’s one of the things I love most about the season. Sharing tokens of love, whether its cheesy hand made DIYs or the season’s hottest doorbusters, the gift of gift giving is the gift that just keeps on giving. Not that I could afford any gifts anyway, as a full-time college student working a minimum wage part-time job, although my gifts may be limited to the shabby chic sale items in my nearest department store, I’m still eager to wrap it up with love.

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What am I going to do this holiday since I’m still away from my parents home in Trinidad? Although I’m stuck in New York’s cold, I still have the opportunity to visit a nearby relative and enjoy her family for Christmas.

So how else do I plan to enjoy a fulfilling Christmas holiday this year? Here are my top 5 ideas for enjoying being single during the holidays:

  1. Visit a relative or close friend
  2. Plan and cook/bake your favorite meal or desert (doesn’t have to be fancy!)
  3. Load up on stocking stuffers (if you love affordable gift giving)
  4. Donate seasonal clothing and blankets to those who may need
  5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen

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I may really need to consider dating seriously for the new year. I’m trying to avoid setting it up as a new year’s resolution, cause surely, judging by my progress in the dating world, this may be a resolution bound to fail.

Travel | When Your AirBnB Sucks!

Lifestyle, Travel, Uncategorized

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Traveling to the Dominican Republic had been long over due. On the agenda since 2015, on November 18 I was finally making my way to Santo Domingo. Just a disclaimer though, the above picture is just for visual appeal, because my real air bnb sucked! 

I admit, I absolutely love the idea of the AirBnb app, its innovative, easy to use and offers travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves directly into the local lifestyle and culture. Nothing against the big chain hotels and resorts, but when I travel, I want a genuine experience and not all the over priced bells and whistles that mask your destination’s reality and beautiful grittiness.

While preparing to arrange a reservation to Santo Domingo for 9 nights and 10 days, I probably spent three weeks filtering through rooms looking for decent, clean accommodation at affordable rates. Keeping in mind that I was traveling out of the country for my surgical appointment with one of the best breast reduction surgeons in the region, Dr. Mallol, I had to adhere to my planned budget for accommodation which was around $22 – $30 bucks a night. I eventually, decided to book a quaint little one-bedroom apartment for my mom and I to share which cost us $220USD for our entire stay in Santo Domingo. Judging by the pictures, it wasn’t anything fancy, just decent and comfortable enough for my stay. Once I have a clean comfortable bed, air condition and wifi, I’ll be satisfied. 

Prior to leaving New York, our host and I exchanged conversations about her apartment, and the purpose of my visit. Having been informed about the reason for my trip to Santo Domingo she became concerned about my dirtying her sheets and towels. Apparently, according to her, she had had a bad experience with a guest who stayed in the apartment who also had surgery. Understanding her concerns I promised in advance to be very careful not to damage any of her property. 

After my tediously draining 4-hour flight, I was finally on my way to my Airbnb, I had never been so excited to just crash into bed and sleep. Our host was very polite and she spoke English really well too. Opening the door to the apartment she began mentioning–as if she had only just remembered, “Oh, we are in a electricity controlled district. The power shuts off every day for a couple hours.” I wasn’t too bothered, although it didn’t concern me until it actually happened. 

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The next morning at about 10am the power shut off, and with that we had no air condition, no wifi, no sanity! The room became so humid and clustered that my mom sat out on the porch until the power came back on. My second day in the country and I’m getting the true experience of life in the Dominican Republic. I just wished she had mentioned this in her AirBnB ad. It’s ironic how one problem brought light to all the things that was wrong in the apartment. 

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Apart from the daily power loss, our host also chose not to provide sheets or towels. How in the world can you host a guest at your home and not give them sheets or towels? We also didn’t have hot water in the shower, and this wasn’t due to the power loss, the hot water didn’t work period! I know I said that I liked experiencing my trips in all it’s authenticity, but this was a little to real for me! At least she was courteous enough to have the maintenance come to try to fix the water heater. 

crocAnd I say ‘try’ because yet still on the fourth day of our stay we still didn’t have hot water. Imagine being hot and sticky with no air condition while also being to scared to take a shower in the icy cold water. We ended up having to boil pans of water to bathe which my mother hated greatly. 

When the going gets tough the tough gets going! On the fifth day yet another problem came up, the wifi stopped working. Our trip was beginning to suck, suck really bad! I was extremely disappointed. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions but I was beginning to like our host lesser and lesser with each passing day.

Not sure if this was just a way for her to make a quick buck, but the business of hospitality management isn’t for everyone. Taking on the responsibility of being a host to foreign visitors should be taken seriously, after all I did pay cold, hard cash. Had I just been staying there for free I wouldn’t complain. Shouldn’t there be certain standards that these hosts adhere to? I totally understand being in an electricity controlled district, it’s really not her fault, however hosts need to be held accountable for their integrity and honesty on their AirBnB ads. She could have inserted a disclaimer explaining the  true conditions of her apartment. I get it, it would probably affect potential guests interests, but you can’t advertise bread and cheese sandwiches and only serve bread! 

It all became a little too overwhelming, I had to check out of her sham of a lodging earlier than planned if I wanted to maintain my sanity. I contacted AirBnB for a refund for the balance of my reservation. I did appreciate though that our host wasn’t resistant and aggressive about our decision to leave. 

dreams-la-romana-resort-and-spa-23152457-1505313478-ImageGalleryLightboxLargeI definitely still stand by what I say, I always hope to have an authentic experience when I travel but I also like to know in advance what I’m getting myself into. So I guess when your AirBnb sucks you may find yourself having to upgrade to the fancy shmancy perks that I claim to not prefer, yet I will admit that perks aren’t so bad after all. Room service, breakfast buffet, housekeeping with clean fresh sheets and towels–I think I could get used to luxury traveling. Although, the last minute change of plans did put a major dent in my budget. Four nights and five days at the W&P Hotel cost us about $490USD, but when you consider all the carefree benefits, its a cost that’s worth affording. Bare in mind, I did say worth ‘affording’, because why stretch your budget if you’re going to go back home broke? 

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Who knows, maybe on my next adventure I will spring for the bells and whistles in advance. I really love traveling and I hope it’s something I could incorporate into my life at least once a year. Next destination on my bucket list is Costa Rica! 

Senior Year | Fall Midterm Jitters

Education, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

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So I am finally a senior! It’s been five long years and I am so ready to cross that finish line. This year was supposed to be smooth sailing, I’d planned to finally have a social life, go parties, make friends, go out on dates and everything fun. Oh boy how was I fooling myself. As an English major I’m just stuck reading books and writing papers all day. I’m finding myself working overtime to get my gpa up after a horrible first year at Queens College.

My dedication throughout my first two years at community college rewarded me with my AA degree in Literature and Writing Arts and a 3.4  gpa but sadly life at a small school like Borough of Manhattan Community College was nothing life at Queens College. The classes are bigger, the work load is significantly heavier and the professors are less likely to make accommodations for the everyday circumstances of life. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t assholes but I’d wished someone would have warned me that things were gonna be so different.

Last year I when I started school at QC, I wanted to be involved on campus, I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, I wanted to be a sorority girl! I thought it would have been a great way to make friends and build life long connections, someone should have also told me that Greek Life, given my age, personality and circumstances, wasn’t the way to go. I was a 24-year old pledge among bubbly playful 18 and 19 year olds but I figured that some way, some how we could still build a bond beyond the constraints of age. Wrong again! I was able to become acquainted with a few of the girls, I had a mom, a big and a twin of whom I was happy to get to know and love but after being unable to afford to pay dues, I saw our friendship fade away. I never became a sister but at least I thought the girls in my pledge class would still be willing to be my friend but, you guessed it, wrong! I was so disappointed, and looking back now, I’m disappointed in myself that I allowed that situation to affect my mood and also my gpa. I even tried to pledge again in the spring when I was more prepared financially but, they didn’t give me a bid, denied! I thought at least I would get a bid because they knew me and we did get to build some kind of connection, but maybe paying for friends wasn’t the way to go.

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It’s fall again, and no, I’m not pledging but I did join the yearbook club and I have been trying to be present at meetings however the schedule of a working college student isn’t as free as the average college kid. I can’t believe it’s almost midterm of my senior year already and the jitters are here too. I hate to admit it but I have been sucking up and kissing ass lately. I need these As! Do you know that you need at least a 2.0 gpa to graduate? Having a 1.7 gpa and being on academic probation really puts the odds against me but fortunately there’s a great possibility that my two INC grades  from the spring may be a bitter sweet opportunity to push my gpa over the borderline. It’s not going to be easy but I am determined to get all As this semester. My math isn’t all that great, but if my calculations are correct, if I get at least three As this semester and 3 As next semester I will be able to graduate with at least a 3.0, not too shabby for a girl who spent both of her entire junior and senior years on academic probation right?

Hope without work yields no results so I need to be consistent in my efforts toward my academic success. Although it seems like I may never get the oh so amazing college experience that I’ve always wanted, I value my long term success way more than a few shallow friendships and frat parties.