Travel

Three Pieces of Advice When Booking an All-Inclusive Resort

Vacation is the best time of the year, no matter how frequently you go. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more interested in traveling, exploring and vacationing as much as I have the time (and money) for. If you ask me, traveling is just as important as having a steady job, if not more important. It allows you to challenge your mindset, learn about new cultures, surprise your taste buds, expand your knowledge on foreign languages and be in places that you may never see again. So, if you’re interested in vacationing, or as I like to call it working, more often, here’s a great way to start.

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Royal Hideaway Playacar

Nothing says vacation more than a tropical location, am I right? Spending your time in the hot sun, watching the waves crash, sipping that cool Pina Colada and reading your book under a palm tree. The ultimate relaxation.

Well, if this is enticing to you, then I suggest an all-inclusive resort be your go-to. I’ve just experienced my first all-inclusive resort and to be honest, it was one of the best vacations I’ve had.

Here’s 3 pieces of advice when booking an all-inclusive resort:

1. Do Your Research

Like visiting any location, it’s wise to research and compare. It can be overwhelming with all the different travel sites, pop-ups, suggestions and packages that are offered. It wouldn’t be a good idea to just choose a place after looking for 5 minutes, because there could be so many better deals you’re neglecting to see. First, start off by picking the country or city. You’ll find out pretty quickly, which locations are more expensive than others. Once you’ve narrowed down the exact place, you can look at resorts in that area alone. This could take a few days to efficiently work your way through each resort, but it’s also the most effective because you’re educating yourself on the good from the bad.

Here are some questions you’ll want to have answered in your search:

  • Is it a family resort or adults-only?
  • Is it for partying or relaxing?
  • Is it in close proximity to the ocean?
  • Are you able to swim in the ocean?
  • What restaurants are included/not-included in the package?
  • Is transportation included?
  • What activities are included? Jet-skiing, kayaking, sailing, hiking, etc.
  • Does it have good reviews?

These are all great questions to keep in mind when narrowing down your choices. Once you find a good candidate, contact customer service and ask as many questions as you want. Getting your money’s worth means being super persistent and getting the most accurate information. Also, be sure to check out Groupon for deals, you may find a good one! My boyfriend and I sure did ūüôā

2. Tip Your Servers 

IMG_3541This is the key to success once you’re there. Even if when booking the amazing all-inclusive resort that you’ve selected says “TIPS ARE INCLUDED!”…tip anyway during your stay. It took us about 2 days to realize that once you tip your server, you’re set for the rest of your stay. Of course, the service was amazing to begin with. We happened to stay at a 5-star hotel with the most accommodating customer service I’ve witnessed, starting as soon as we stepped off the plane, but still, it goes a long way.

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Playa Del Carmen Beach

Waiters will most likely be walking around the resort, by the pool and near the beach chairs, taking orders and asking if you’re comfortable. Thanking them with a smile and a few bucks can assure advanced service. They’ll come around twice as often and will make sure you aren’t empty-handed whether that be with food, drinks or fresh pool towels.

3. Leave the Resort.

So if you go to Mexico, like we did, everyone will tell you “don’t leave the resort.” That’s not always accurate advice, however. Sure, it probably isn’t a good idea to go roaming in areas you’ve never heard of or aren’t educated about, but off-site is where you can experience a little more adventure. You probably won’t want to leave the resort, considering they probably have everything you need, but relaxing can get boring. Save aside one day of adventure and you’ll be glad you did.

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Zip-lining, cave swimming, ATV riding, repelling, bungee jumping, para-sailing, etc, are all activities that you can experience in adventure sites near, or even further away from the resort. Not only do you get to get a little dirty, a sense of fear and adrenaline and a sunburn, you’ll also experience the culture of the people who live there and who run the adventure parks as a living. You’ll find out what they talk about, what excites them, what they do everyday and what they like to eat. You’ll surely find out that they aren’t so different from us, and you probably will laugh the entire time. At them and at yourself.

 

Other tips:

  • Choose vacation dates wisely. Resorts and flights can vary drastically, depending on the days you choose.
  • Bring a first aid kit with band aids, aloe, Tums, Motrin, and cold medicine.
  • Bring your own suntan lotion in travel packs, as the resorts tend to hike up the prices.
  • Buy bottled waters for the room if the resort does not already provide.
  • Make sure to triple check if all food and drinks are included, you don’t want to get ripped off.
  • Find out what the policy is with dinner, sometimes you need a reservation.
  • Setup transportation ahead of time. We used USA Transfers in Cancun and the service was amazing and cheaper than going through the resort directly.
  • Be smart, be prepared and have fun!

Happy travels ūüôā

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Entertainment

3 Reasons to Watch 13 Reasons Why

Jay Asher, author of 13 Reasons Why, is truly brilliant. I read this book 2 years ago, having no idea that a Netflix series would be created in it’s honor. It’s hard for me to remember every detail of a book I read that long ago. And as¬†if I wasn’t already scarred enough by the book, this series took that feeling to a whole other level.

If you haven’t heard all the hype about the show, then you’re probably disconnected from all forms of social media, because it’s been almost impossible to avoid the tweets, memes and articles written on 13 Reasons Why. In short, it’s about a girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide. But she isn’t just gone, not truly. She leaves behind these cassette tapes explaining exactly what went on in her life and who made her do it. I can vouch for the fact that this isn’t bogus or a waste of your time. It’s not in any way overrated and shouldn’t be something that you refuse to get sucked into.

That’s why I’m here. Jessica Litras. That’s right. It’s me, live and on paper.¬†Anonymous reader, welcome to your tape…

3 Reasons to watch 13 Reasons Why:

1. It’s Unpredictable.¬†Unknown

There’s really no telling where this story is going or when it’ll end. Even having read the book, I was very confused. There’s flashbacks of before Hannah’s death and after Hannah’s death which causes you to make connections, link clues and notice foreshadowing and just how different things are when she’s gone. You don’t realize how terrible some of the characters really¬†are until you find out what they do. It’s a true high school nightmare filled with evil teenage punks who need a good slap in the face (which many of them get anyway.)

Usually with other shows, it’s easy to decipher characters you like and dislike, but the characters in this series remain questionable throughout. Who’s really behind it all? Who can we really trust? Did they actually do what Hannah said they did? Are they all as terrible as the seem? There’s unanswered questions during every episode and even after the series is over, that many people want answered. There’s debate over whether there should be another season, but if you ask me, it should be left as is. It’s not about the entertainment of the show, it’s about the message.

2. It’s Realimages

When both reading the book and watching the movie there’s an instinctual reaction to think that the Hannah is completely overreacting. That she’s too sensitive or overthinking interactions she has and the relationships she develops. And you’ll probably wonder why she can’t just “get over it.” This attitude changes rapidly when it’s obvious how shitty the people are at her high school. If you didn’t have a tough time in high school, then you’ll surely realize what it was like for the people who did. Because even though Hannah Baker was the victim, it’s clear that everyone involved is a victim of some sort. They all have their own issues to deal with and being high schoolers, it feels like everything is the end of the world.

Hannah, however, had a more intense, trapped and negative mindset once the damage was¬†done. The only factor that wasn’t really touched upon in this series was mental illness. The impact this series had was big enough, but the reactions would just have been developed from a different perspective. One that’s just important as bullying. Despite the lack of mental health discussion in the series, it was still powerful. The acting, the characters, the conversations and the scenes were so real in the sense that you felt they were actually happening. I didn’t binge watch the entire thing in one sitting, however. I was more like Clay and needed time to think about what I heard and the things I saw.

3. It’s DarkUnknown-1

The series isn’t only intense and capturing, it’s very dark. It takes you on another level of feeling uneasy¬†by¬†the malicious intent and vulgar language used throughout. I found myself speechless, apalled¬†and yelling at the screen almost every episode. I couldn’t stop thinking about the episodes after I watched them and thought about it all day, wondering what would happen the next episode. Unlike other¬†shows, there were only a handful of comic relief here and there throughout the 13 episodes. So you felt this unavoidable sadness while watching, not really being able to bring yourself back out of it until it ended. Kind of like how Hannah felt.

You may now know what¬†to expect when watching 13 Reasons Why after the tweets, memes and this blog post, but you don’t even know the half of what’s to come. You don’t really know how intense it’ll be, how much hurt you’ll feel for others and how much you wish you could help those who feel like they aren’t good enough. If you’re turned off to watching it because it sounds too depressing, that’s because it is. And sure, you also know how it ends, but sometimes already knowing the ending isn’t a bad thing. I knew how the story ended and I am forever scarred by what I saw. Trust me, you aren’t ready.

Lifestyle

Three Ways To Get Your Life Back On Track

Even the most successful people fall into a slump. I think it’s inevitable at some point in each of our busy lives because the reality of running on top speed 24/7, just isn’t natural. Even if we want to believe we can do it, there comes a time when we’re put into our place. Were humans and sometimes we slack a little. It doesn’t mean we’re lazy or worthless. Realizing that it’s acceptable every once in a while and making a goal to get back where we want to be is what’s most important.

If you’ve fallen off your track, here’s out to get back on it:

1. Make Lists

img_0138The key to organization is always keeping tabs on what actually needs to get accomplished. ¬†There’s no way you can do that by simply storing it in your head. It needs to be written down. Lists have become a daily routine of mine. Every morning when I grab a cup of coffee, get to work and sit at my desk, the first thing I do is make a list. I write down everything I know I need to complete that day at work and cross them off as each gets done. It’s a visually organized and satisfying way to accomplish goals. There’s just something so riveting about crossing the items off your list one by one. I might sound like a total loser but don’t make fun until you try it. I have a feeling you’ll develop a similar reaction and obsession with making lists.

Not only do I constantly create lists for myself, but I’m an avid Google calendar user as well. This helps me place all my meetings and appointments on alerts so I can’t forget about them and have a panic attack when I’m totally unprepared. Preparation is the key to success, especially in the workplace.

Thanks to a couple of my fellow Twitter followers, I was given some pretty awesome suggestions for planners and organizers. If you want to make organizing fun, try purchasing some cute and festive stationary for inspiration. Rifle Paper Co, Bando and Erin Condren are all fabulous stationary stores to try.

2. Prioritize Realistically 

img_0469A big part of getting your life back on track involves creating realistic approaches. I’ve always been one to try and take on more than I can handle. In hindsight, I realized I needed to try and stop being Wonder Woman all the time and actually set goals I can successfully achieve. Going to work, meeting up with a friend for drinks, hitting the gym and writing 3 blogs is just ridiculous to consider doing all in one day. I learned to spread out my activities throughout the week so that it allows me to do them stress-free and more importantly, that I get enough sleep at night.

Prioritizing can be done so by using helpful tools like a whiteboard. I purchased one to place in my room and use it to organize all my short & long-term goals. Whether it be for just a weekend or something I plan to do months from now. I use different colors to separate what I plan do now and what will wait until later. Keeping realistic priorities  that you want to accomplish will be beneficial to your view on life and overall health. You just have to be okay with doing a little at a time.

3. Always Find Motivation 

img_0438In order to successfully get back on track and stay there, you must always have something to keep going for. Whether it’s a financial goal, a skill set, a new position or plans to travel, continuously find things that inspire you. Because the only reason we work our asses off everyday is to achieve some sort of goal that means more to us anyway.

I find my motivation by organizing, prioritizing and enjoying life as best I can. I read, travel, go to the movies, explore museums, talk to strangers on the streets of NY and put myself out there as much as possible. There may be hand-made manuals, lists and bullet points to help me get through the days, but there certainly isn’t a manual to life. Whatever is important to you, may not be so appealing to someone else but that’s why life is so great. You define what it is on your own and keep going no matter what. Anything goes.

 

Entertainment

Three Reasons Why the Third Harry Potter is the Best of Them All

In honor of Harry Potter’s birthday, I thought it was appropriate to write about one of the best series of all time. If you’re a Potter-head like me, you’ve probably read all the books, watched all the movies and know everything there is to know about every character.

We adore the series, live through every triumph and failure that comes along with it and will always stand up for it’s greatness. We love it so much that it affects our ability to choose which adventure is the best.

And even though we’ve been reading these books since elementary school, we still can’t get enough. Because magic really never goes out of style does it?

Here’s why Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best one.

1. I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Unknown-1.jpeg

You’re bloody hell I’m not. How brilliant (said in classic Harry and Ron voice) of an idea to create the Marauder’s Map that only works when spoken these words. The entire series is just that. Harry, Ron and Hermione always getting into the trouble, always looking for danger and breaking every rule possible.

But they aren’t just committing these acts for no reason at all. They do it to make Hogwarts and the magic world a better place. They do it to learn, become better wizards and witches and explore the life they’ve been given. They do it to defend themselves and others from the dark lord. Their curiosity, bravery and determination inspire us to do the same in our own lives.

And even if they are always up to no good, they prove to us that no magic can replace the importance of friendship.

2. Sirius Black. Unknown-2

The most dangerous wizard to ever escape Azkaban. On the hunt for Harry Potter to kill him once and for all. The one who killed 13 people in front of Muggles and betrayed Harry’s parents. Or did he?

Sirus Black, Harry Potter’s Godfather, was trying to do nothing more than protect Harry, when everyone else at Hogwarts thought the opposite. The entire book, Harry is protected and told to stay put when really, Sirius was a guardian who loved Harry and would address his unanswered questions. He was Harry’s closest interaction to a family member and it meant the world to him.

Sirius Black is no criminal and never was. It just goes to show you that even with the worst reputation, people may not be as bad as they seem. It taught us to avoid judgement, learn to understand the struggles of others and embrace those who have sacrificed for us.

3. Expecto Patronum. images-1.jpeg

My favorite spell of all time.

This ancient and mysterious charm conjures a magical guardian, a projection of all your most positive feelings. The Patronus Charm is difficult, and many witches and wizards are unable to produce a full, corporeal Patronus, a guardian which generally takes the shape of the animal with whom they share the deepest affinity. You may suspect, but you will never truly know what form your Patronus will take until you succeed in conjuring it.‚ÄĒMiranda Goshawk’s overview of the Patronus Charm

To me, this is the most intense scene in any Harry Potter book/movie. Harry struggles throughout his third year at Hogwarts, trying to learn the spell and create enough strength to fight off the dementors. He fears them most and fails many times being knocked unconscious.

It isn’t until he goes back in time with Hermione and her time turner and sees himself suffering and dying from the power of the dementors, sucking the life right out of him. He realizes no one is coming to save him and with a rush of adrenaline and determination, he steadily holds his wand yelling “EXPECTO PETRONUM!” causing an immediate wave of power knocking out all the dementors in his path.

I will forever love this scene and this spell. Why, do you ask? Because it shows us that no matter what struggles we face, the power always lies within us. The only person who can save who can save you, is you.

Thank you J.K. Rowling for your amazing talent. You’ve given us a world full of magic that’s relatable to the real world at the same time. Thanks for letting us be a part of that and instilling something within us that’s sometimes hard to explain. In a world like ours, it’s nice to have something magical to turn to.

“Mischief Managed.”

Entertainment

Three Of The Best Albums Of 2016 So Far

Hello my music lovers. What a year it has been so far in the world of beats. I must say there’s been some fire hits and utter failures, as there always are. It’s safe to say that there’s no holding back in 2016. Each genre has taken dramatic shifts in the past few years and that’s mostly due to technology advances and the hype over social media. There’s more ways than ever to get material out there and artists these days are surely taking advantage of that. In my opinion, every album is worth listening to but there are a few that have taken the cake so far. Albums that I loved right away, knew they were going to be successful and still listen to everyday even months after being released. Literally all Summer 16. Thanks Drake. Here’s three of the best albums of 2016:

1. Summer in the Winter by Kid Ink

  • Released: December 25, 2015
  • Genre: Hip-Hop
  • Features: DJ Mustard, Fetty Wap, Akon, Omarion & Bia

Summer in the Winter is one of those feel-good albums that gets you pumped for a morning jog around the neighborhood or getting ready for a night out. DJ Mustard, being one of my favorite producers ever, always leaves a track flawless. As soon as I hear his classic intro “Mustard on the beat hoe,” I automatically know the track is going to be straight fire. It’s definitely not an album composed of genius lyrics, but if you want to just chill out and vibe, I highly suggest listening to it. If you’re a Kid Ink fan, you’re bound to agree.

Not only do I love Kid Ink from his previous work, but I also developed a new-found love for Fetty Wap. I hated Trap Queen, his mumbling and I couldn’t stand looking at his non-existent eye.¬†I feared what was to come for the music world after hearing a guy like this make his way to the top of the charts. Little did I know that this one song from Summer in the Winter would change my mind all together. After hearing the song “Promise,” which happens to be my favorite on the album, I realized how much I enjoyed Fetty Wap. I’m now able to listen to any song featuring him because I was shown how much fun he can really be. Download the¬†album, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

2. Purpose by Justin Bieber

  • Released: November 13, 2015
  • Genre: Dance, Pop, EDM

My actual reaction when I realized I liked Justin Bieber’s new album:

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I honestly thought I’d never see the day. Justin Bieber?! An album worth listening to?! It just can’t be. But, it is. I’ve accepted it and I know a lot of you have too. I’m completely blown away by his job on this album. It’s been out for months and I still can’t go a day without listening to it. I will regret the day I ever said this but it may be one of my favorite albums of all time. NOOO GOD NO. Okay, I’m over it.

Anyway, this album just gives you the best of both worlds. It’s inspirational and real while also having the ability to make you dance your ass off and always feel happy hearing it at the bar. His maturity in this album itself has given me so much more respect for him and his career as a whole. All though I still don’t (and will never) consider myself a “Belieber,” I have to give a nod to J Biebs. Thanks for providing me with an album I needed mentally, when I wasn’t able to put my feelings into words. Ugh I can’t believe I just admitted all these feelings about JUSTIN BIEBER. Is it too late now to say sorry?

3. Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande

  • Released: May 20, 2016
  • Genre: Pop, R&B
  • Features: Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Macy Gray and Future.

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Can I just start out by saying YAAAS QUEEN. I’ve always loved Ariana even when she was her little annoying, teenage self on Victorious. I always thought her music was cute and fun to listen to, but never took it too seriously. And didn’t take her too seriously as an artist. Not until I listened to Dangerous Woman.¬†I just can’t get enough of it. I’m so proud she’s finally shown how truly talented she is, while being a badass at the same time.

Not only am I proud of her for releasing a brilliant album and molding an even better career path for herself, but I’m proud to have been called Ariana Grande by my friends too. This has nothing to do with my vocal abilities, more of just being cute, small and having big hair. It just goes to show you that even the most innocent people can dominate and be the best at what they do. Keep killing it,¬†Ari, you’re my inspiration. Check out her album if you haven’t already. I’m sure her vocals will bring life right into you.

Lifestyle

Three Reasons Why Morgantown Never Really Leaves You

After being featured in an article of tweets that sums up what it feels like to graduate from WVU, I decided to go a little more in-depth.

Warning: I have already consumed 2 glasses of wine so I apologize for any dramatic emotions that may pour out. The pun was not intended but, I’ll allow it.

Anyone will argue that their college was the place to be. We all have our attachments to the establishment that gave us our degree and allowed us to really experience what it’s like to be on our own. I’ve heard the tales of friends from their college towns and the shenanigans they would get into. I would never downplay another’s college or say that mine is better. There’s just no way for me to know that for sure.

But what I can tell you is the feeling of being a Mountaineer that compares to no other. The feeling you get when you drive on University Ave and see that bridge lit up with your favorite words, “West Virginia University.” The feeling you get when you’re in your favorite town surrounded by your favorite people, literally in the middle of nowhere. When it’s a game day and you’re woken¬†up by faint chants of “Let’s go Mountaineers,” outside your apartment window at 7am. When it’s Friday night and you’ve worked your ass off all week so you can enjoy the weekends as much as possible.

The true difference between WVU and other colleges was that you didn’t just fall in love with your college, you fell in love with your college town too. In Morgantown, we became a family and embraced the culture as our own. We lived in the falling-apart, creaky and questionable houses that felt like a real home to us. We made friends with the bums on the streets and were legitimately¬†upset when we found out one passed away. We put up with the town parades and would watch from our apartment windows on High Street, even when it caused even more traffic to begin with. We invited our friends, dragged our parents around and¬†let the world know what it meant to us.

We talked about Morgantown as if it were a person and have said things like “Morgantown, you need a time out,” “Morgantown, why do you always do this to me.” “Morgantown, I love you,” or simply just “Morgantown…” Morgantown became a part of who you were and even if you didn’t know it at the time, it was leaving a bigger mark than you could have ever imagined.

Here’s three reasons why Morgantown never really leaves you.

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1. It’s Your Safe Haven.¬†

When I think of the last time I felt on top of the world and happiest with my life, I think of Morgantown. When I’m stressed out at work and need a pick me up, I think of Morgantown. When I want to have a fun night out, I have a hard time choosing what to do because I always compare it to Morgantown. When I try to imagine where I’d rather be when I’m feeling down, it’s always Morgantown.

Morgantown accepted me. Morgantown had my back. Morgantown showed me what it’s like to really live.

I felt safe there because I knew how much I belonged. I felt safe because I had my professors guiding me when I was struggling, my friends laughing with me when I was feeling crazy and my favorite bouncers catching me when I couldn’t stand up any longer.

If you’re a Mountaineer, than you know what it feels like to be part of this community. To yell out your window at any time of the day shouting “Let’s Go!” and hearing someone, somewhere shout back “Mountaineers!” To walk around and all you see is blue and gold, because they’re the only colors worth wearing. To show up at a party and leave with a handful of new friends. To walk around and get invited to hangout when you’ve never even met them before. To climb the stairs, the hills, frat row, as high as you could get, only to look down and see everyone together having the times of their lives, and all you can think to yourself is,¬†“I can’t imagine being anywhere else but here.”

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2. It Taught You About life.

Morgantown, believe it or not, was not all about partying. We’ve been through a lot with this town through good and bad. We’ve dealt with tuition raises, ridiculous rules based on our behavior, the tearing down of our beloved Sunnyside (RIP), big losses by our teams, tragic losses by our fellow students, struggles by our best friends and fears of what would come of us.

I can tell you one thing though, I never lost hope when I was there. Even after having the worst day, all I had to do was step outside and see the sun setting along the horizon of the mountains, watch the cars drive around blasting music, and see visible tears of laughter rolling down the faces of kids on their porches. I knew everyone was in the same boat as me. We had each others backs and we made each other feel limitless.

I learned what I wanted in my career, who I wanted to be when I got out of there and where I wanted to go. Morgantown is the only place that allows you to lose yourself and find yourself at the same time.

3. It’s Your Favorite Hello and Your Hardest Goodbye.image1

Going back to Morgantown after vacations was always a relief. While most people were dreading starting back up, we couldn’t wait any longer. The drive back was beautiful and seeing that “Welcome to West Virginia” sign was the best feeling. I always wonder when I’ll feel that happy to be somewhere again.

Graduating was harder than I thought and even almost 2 years later I still miss it just as much. I don’t wish I was still in college or want to be as reckless as we all were when we were together, but I miss how simple things were and how little it took to make us happy.

Leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do because I knew things would never be the same. I’ll never be together in the same place with my best friends. I’ll never be able to wake up in my little apartment in my WVU decorated room to get ready for game day. I’ll never be able to roam the town and find things to do no matter what time of the day it was. I’ll never be able to feel like I did when I was there.

But, I will never forget how I felt. I’ll never forget my friends and the countless hours we spent together. I’ll never forget the ridiculous things we would do or being too sore for my own good from dancing all night. I’ll never forget game days and jumping as high as I could when we scored a touchdown and seeing everyone I love go nuts.

Things change and it doesn’t last forever, but the memories will. I still get lost when I think of the times I had. I now know I’ll never be able to top those years and to tell you the truth, I would never want to. Because even when you leave Morgantown, it never really leaves you.

 

 

Lifestyle

Three Announcements I Have For New Yorkers

I say “announcements” because it seems like it’s the only sounds we pay attention to. Being a New Yorker comes with a big responsibility. We have our city to represent, our accent to shout and a purpose to proclaim. New York City is the city of dreams, and I now know that to be true myself.

If you’re a commuter like me, you see all the personalities of New Yorkers there are. Even if you don’t live in New York, you know a few things to be true about us. When I posted a status asking to define New Yorkers in one word, here was the feedback I received:

Stubborn, cultured, generous, straight-forward, passionate, fast-paced, driven, diverse, resilient, rushed, opinionated, loud, fierce, overtaxed, real, charismatic, assertive, determined, urgent, mechanical, impatient, tough and restless. 

I have to admit, these are very good definitions to describe us. We are known for our go-getter attitudes, driven personalities, confidence, fast-paced struts and our ability to filter out all the bullshit. These words most definitely say a lot. But, it doesn’t say everything. I know that us New Yorkers have more to prove than these words used to describe us. We all have big dreams and a big future, which is why we make our way to this city everyday. I can’t help but notice the lack of disconnect, however. Everyone’s so busy making time for their goals that it often seems they have trouble making time for each other.

Here are three announcements I have for New Yorkers.

1. You Aren’t The Only Person Walking.IMG_6005

“Hey, I’m walking here,” is a real thing. From the moment they step off the train, until the moment they get to the office, they don’t stop. There’s a reason why New Yorkers walk fast and it’s because we seriously don’t have a choice. With all the hustle and bustle going on, the streets being overcrowded, and tourists stopping dead-middle on the sidewalk to take pictures, we just make do by walking briskly and dodging whatever comes our way. It’s just the culture and nature of the city and as exhilarating as it sounds, it makes people think they own the street.

Guess what though, you aren’t the only one walking. Maybe we wouldn’t feel so anxious all the time if we slowed it down a bit. If we actually talked to someone on our walk to work, if we stopped to watch the streets filled with people from all over¬†and take in the scenery, if we actually embraced tourists and loved the fact that they’re obsessed with our city (just like we are) than things wouldn’t be so bad.

I once overheard a man near Bryant Park say “There’s always something worth looking at in New York City.” And he’s absolutely right. I think we are so focused on getting where we need to be that we forget half the fun is getting there.

2. You’re Disconnected More Than You Think.¬†IMG_6222

This one gets me the most. People are totally unfazed by dangers of the city when they are so used to being there everyday. New Yorkers totally have the “it won’t happen to me” attitude, when in reality we are one of the most over-populated cities with reasons to be cautious all the time. I’m not saying being fearful and overly-cautious is necessary, but it helps to be aware.

Sometimes, I’ll take a seat on the train after a long day at work, feel out of breath from running to catch it and I’ll sit back and watch everyone. Everyone sits, closes their eyes or are locked-in on their devices. Extreme disconnect. Of course, there are many who strike up conversations. But no joke, they are the minority. No one cares to see who’s next to them, no one looks up when a guy get’s angry at someone else and no one thinks anything can happen to them.

When the attacks of September 11, 2001 happened, things were so different. After that day you could describe New Yorkers as having hospitality. Everyone was aware, generous, caring, understanding and looking out for one another. It seems as if since time has passed by, they just completely forgot how to be true to each other. It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring us closer together. I just wish people would realize how disconnected they are and look up from their phones for once.

3. You Don’t Know Everything.¬†IMG_5891

I’m so sorry to say this, but arrogant is a word I often use to describe New Yorkers. We just have this tone of voice and a “know-it-all” mannerisms that drives me crazy. The conversations exchanged are always about proving who’s right, who’s wrong, who needs to move out of the way, who doesn’t know “what the hell they’re doing,” who needs to give some space and who is the stronger one. It’s daily. Even innocent conversations contain aspects of arrogance and just onstantly trying to prove who they are.

Well I can tell you for a fact, you don’t know everything. There’s so much more than your big-city-living world than meets the eye. I wish I could describe New Yorkers as humble and kind, but that just isn’t the case. I wish I wasn’t always having someone one-up my opinion or trying to out-do my hypothesis. You could learn so much more by not assuming you know everything.¬†If anything, it just makes us look too proud and too invested in our own world.

 

So maybe I have a biased opinion right now. Maybe because the city and commuter life is so new and exciting to me, I can’t possibly fathom why people act this way. Maybe the guy doing this commute for the past 20 years has had enough and is just tired. Maybe the girl avoiding eye contact and trying to sleep is on the verge of a breakdown at work. Maybe the guy running his mouth about what he knows is actually miserable with his own life. And maybe the girl staring at her phone likes to escape her world than to live in it. Maybe I’m being too dramatic. Maybe I’m just too young and naive to wish things were otherwise.

All I know is I don’t see life this way. I still love my New Yorkers and this opportunity we share together everyday. I have faith that people will realize what it means to be a community again and not feel so disconnected. I don’t really know what it’ll take but all I know is I want to be a part of it.

“You can do what you like, sir, but I’ll tell you this. New York is the true capital of America. ¬†Every New Yorker knows it, and by God, we always shall.” – Edward Rutherford

 

 

Fashion

Three Fun Lipsticks To Try For Spring

With the lipstick craze lately, there are so many shades and textures to choose from. As a lipstick connoisseur myself, I often have trouble deciding which color is right for me. There are so many factors to consider — skin tone, lip shape, eyes, wardrobe, whether you like long-lasting or quick simple glosses, etc. Even though finding the perfect shade can be a challenging one, I truly believe it makes or breaks an outfit of choice for the day. Here are three suggestions of colors/brands to try:

1. Sephora Collection $12.50 Sephora Rouge

The classic and highly rated lipstick on the market. The Sephora Collection provides an array of shades that makes it easy to find the absolute perfect shade for you. With the amount of choices you have it would be impossible not to find one that you love. The picture to the right is my favorite shade of pink — Sephora Rouge. It’s a great color for Spring, being that baby pink is VERY in this season. The lipstick is a smooth glide and does not take long to apply since it is a very thick coating. And a plus — It smells like candy!

2. NYX Matte Lipstick $6.00NYX

Absolutely flawless. I am obsessed with this matte lipstick because of the quality and longer lasting ability. This color is great for an evening attire because it compliments almost any outfit you put on, so well. This one tends to make your lips look more plump too, so if you are looking for this feature, this is a great brand to try. Coincidentally, my favorite out of this collection is the NYX Rouge a Levres. Same name as the first, but an entirely different color. These lipsticks have become quite popular as of recently, so make sure to get your hands on one.

3. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Gloss $9.99Loreal

Last, but most definitely not least, the infallible lip-gloss. This gloss, in my opinion, is the best out there. It has a triangle shaped brush that applies the color easily to your lips and and lays a shiny, wet gloss. Once you are finished applying, the gloss dries into a matte and leaves a stunning, vibrant and spunky color. Not only does it leave a beautiful shade, but it lasts for hours. I have put on this lipstick at 8am, looked in the mirror at 5pm, only to realize it looked exactly as when I first applied it. The color I recommend is Aphrodite Kiss. Invest in one, you won’t regret it.

That’s all for my luscious lipstick advice for today. Let me know if you have any personal favorites, I would love to hear about them!

 

 

Lifestyle

Three Truths About Being Alone

As of recently, I have received several negative notions, sporadically, from friends and family about being alone. And this can mean anything. From being alone in a group of friends, being alone in a relationship or just being alone in general. There are many different categories for it but in the end, feeling alone just makes you feel empty regardless of the scenario. But I’m here to tell you why being alone is a good thing. Even those who say they like being alone, will find themselves missing out and want to be around other people. But the truth is that being alone has nothing to do with anyone else. It has to do with yourself. So here are three truths of being alone;

1. It Makes You Self-Aware

Being alone has unbelievable benefits. So what if your friends are too busy lately. So what if you’re single. And so what if you’re family lives on the other side of the country. When you have the opportunity to really be by yourself, and with yourself, you learn things you were never aware of. You learn what you really like and what you really hate. Why certain things bother you. How you react to things when no one is around. How you sound when you sing in the shower. How loud you laugh when you watch a comedy show. How hard you cry when you’re feeling sad. All these things are completely natural because it’s just you to judge. And when you learn all the parts of you, you become your own best friend.

2. It Makes You Humble

If you let yourself be alone and actually enjoy it, then you will be set free. Seriously, the Beatles know what’s good. Just let it be. Don’t feel sorry for yourself or think that you should be doing better, because you are right where you are supposed to be. The time you spend feeling sorry for yourself or worrying about being alone, is time you can spend enjoying it. You may not realize it now, but you’ll miss this freedom later down the road.

3. It Won’t Last Forever

It.will.not.last.forever. Whether you click with lifetime friends that are always there, meet the love of your life, or live on the same block as your entire family. You will one day not feel like this. Things will happen the way they are supposed to, as we are always told. The things you hoped for will fall into place. But the truth is, none of these things are the real fix to no longer being alone. Because being alone is all in your mind and it always will be.

You are not alone ūüôā

Entertainment

Three Activities For Winter

Sorry Kid Ink, but it doesn’t feel like the Summer in the Winter. The temperature has dropped dramatically over the past few weeks and the list of activities available to us has dwindled down. There just isn’t much that is appealing during the wintertime because even just moving out of bed is a task. If you don’t have much motivation to get out and have some fun, let these three suggestions do the trick;

1. Go to a BookstoreIMG_5530.JPG

This is a cheap and fun way to spend your day inside. That is, if you’re a book lover. Barnes and Noble is my go-to when I’m bored and have nothing to do. I can spend hours browsing through books and get lost in the categories. If I don’t feel like looking for actual books there’s always the magazine section where I can catch up on my celebrity gossip, real estate trends and fitness tips. The best part about it all, is that there’s a Starbucks located right inside! Coffee, magazines and books. A tranquil, relaxing and satisfying atmosphere where you can enjoy yourself from little to no cost and watch the snow fall from right outside the window.

2. Go to a BreweryIMG_5636

If the last suggestion made you fall asleep, than maybe this one is for you. After all it is Feb-rew-ary. Research local breweries nearby! This is a fun, inviting and educational atmosphere. You can see the beer being brewed right in front of you and learn about the different types of beer and what is used in the recipe. You can decipher what your taste buds appeal to most and decide what kind of beer drinker you are. What a lovely way to stay warm.

3. Go to a Talk Show12670426_10205917439642844_2541085204643929082_n

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t as attainable. But, if you apply for shows or events like this, you just never know! You can be chosen to attend a talk show for absolutely no cost. Here, you can experience the lights, camera, action life-style, while being a part of it at the same time. How exciting to be on the sidelines of television history, not knowing who or what is going to appear on-stage. This is an all-day event that will leave you feeling like a star. It’s also something you can win for you and your friends, which I’m sure they will thank you for.