Gratitude List for 2013

Monk and Interfaith scholar Brother David Steindl-Rast has a wonderful Ted Talk (below) about the link between gratitude and happiness. As 2013 winds down I thought it was important to inventory some of the highlights from the year.

I am thankful for

  1. My family and friends (new and old)
  2. Life and physical and mental health
  3. Getting into great graduate schools with multiple scholarships, and having the luxury of picking the best fit 
  4. The chance to be in a great intercultural/racial relationship where I grew so much and ending up with a friend when it didn’t work out
  5. Finding terrific tenants for my house and income property
  6. The opportunity to travel to Nigeria for my cousin’s traditional wedding
  7. Sipping champagne at polo matches with my lovely friends
  8. The opportunity to mentor promising young women in foster care and the juvenile justice systems with Junior League
  9. Memorial day weekend in NYC and going to the Hamptons with my MLT peeps
  10. Brunch outside at the Omphoy and drinks at the Breakers HMF
  11. Lazy Sundays on Peanut Island
  12. Getting fantastic roommates in Evanston and cheap rent
  13. Roadtripping alone from West Palm Beach, FL to Evanston, IL
  14. Going to the Canary Islands for KWEST
  15. Learning from brilliant professors and classmates
  16. Attempting 3 case competitions- failing each time and learning loads in the process
  17. Getting to know the 2nd year students and absorbing their institutional knowledge
  18. Fall Ball and trolley rides
  19. Getting the classes I needed for Winter Quarter
  20. Spending Thanksgiving with a warm family
  21. My ankle length winter coat for those cold Chicago winters
  22. Passing all my classes
  23. RV trip from Evanston to Denver
  24. Ski Trip in Breckenridge and Vail
  25. Christmas with my family

When I go through the list I realize what an amazing year I have had and I know I am probably missing some epic moments.

I hope that 2014 will be even better.

Feliz Navidad 2013

In honor of this day of family and togetherness I leave you with a playlist while the family cuts up the Christmas ham, spoons out the rice and beans or whatever Christmas traditions you have.

  1.  Silent Night- The Temptations
  2.  Someday at Christmas- Mary J. Blige
  3. Give Love on Christmas Day- Jackson 5
  4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town- Jackson 5
  5. What Christmas Means to Me- Stevie Wonder
  6. This Christmas- Donny Hathaway
  7. Little Drummer Boy- Pentatonix
  8.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Luther Vandross
  9. Let it Snow- Boyz II Men
  10. All I want for Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey
  11. Last Christmas- Wham!
  12. 8 Days of Christmas- Destiny’s Child
  13. Merry Christmas Baby- Otis Redding
  14. Christmas in Hollis- Run DMC
  15. Christmas Rappin’- Kurtis Blow
  16.  Santa Baby- Eartha Kitt
  17. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus- Amy Winehouse
  18. Run run Rudolph- Chuck Berry
  19. Please Come Home for Christmas- Aaron Neville

Wanderlust: Chicago in Mid July

I had an amazing opportunity to visit Chicago on a multi-purpose trip. It was a weekend filled with love, laughter, food, logistical woes, shopping, reunions, career building, and new friends. Unfortunately I just learned the father of one of my closest friends from Chicago has passed away. I am deeply saddened by the loss. This blog is dedicated to RC Easley

millennium park

Michigan ave Chicago

tasteofchi

giant chia mich ave

art institute Chicago

view from bcg

petrillo

All photos were taken by me.

Thirsty Thursday: Ironbeer

Last week while strolling through my grocery store’s beverage aisle I stumbled upon Ironbeer. I don’t drink soda normally but my curiosity got the best of me. From what I understand this Cuban drink was created in 1917. The “strong man” imagery on the can is just as interesting as the taste. If half of Dr. Pepper’s 39 flavors divorced him and shacked up with Cheerwine it would taste like Ironbeer. However grab some for yourself and let me know if you agree.

image

Youtube Tuesday: Hello Cupid

I really enjoy web series. Partially because I don’t have a television and partially because of the innovative and unorthodox content. One of my favorite channels, BlackandSexyTV, has a show called Hello Cupid. It’s refreshing, hilarious, and cringe worthy. If Girlfriends and Catfish had a love baby this would be it. We watch with bated breath as Whitney and her roommate Robyn navigate the dating scene with  hands clasped to our faces, peering through our fingers because their entire plan is always moments away from combustion. hellocupid Without giving too much away: the show begins with one of the characters bemoaning her lack of success with online dating.There is rarely a gathering of single friends in which the topic of dating doesn’t come up. We swap dating horror stories, give advice, and lend an ear to our friend’s frustrations. Some people are more positive than others:

but there are a lot of us with friends like Whitney- beautiful girls with dazzling personalities that feel like they are not “enough”. They feel that in order to find love they must become something other than who they truly are. In this era of gender politics, skinny vs curvy, light skin vs dark skin, class warfare, Photoshop, etc. it is very easy for someone to feel less than because he or she doesn’t fit what they presume “the mold” to be. Very rarely do people fit neatly into boxes. Many of us are just ellipses that managed to fall through the circle hole or rhombuses that squeezed our way through the square box. Somebody out there will appreciate your quirks and talents. It’s such a shame to see people on shows like Catfish and characters like Whitney waste their time hiding behind the façade when their true selves are equally or more lovable. Be authentic because someone out there is falling in love with your smile. If you are incapable of being genuine please videotape it, because it makes for great TV :) Watch the show below:

Extravagantly Frugal: Club W and Garden and Gun magazine

I am really good at being fancy and frugal at the same time. If I could squeeze an extra bullet on my resume under the “Additional Information” section it would say in  8 pt font “Can make a dollar out of fifteen cents”.

One the ways I achieve this is through daily deal sites like Livingsocial. Today I scored one of my favorite magazines ever: Garden and Gun. it combines Southern charm, delicious food, and vibrant aesthetics.

Garden & Gun 1-year subscription for $10

and great deal on a wine club that I have been curious about joining. My inner oenophile rejoices

Club W Wine 6 bottles of Wine for $35

 

Get yours before the deal runs out:

Club W Wine

Garden & Gun

Save 20% with discount code: JULY20

Music Monday: Holy Ghost Party Mixtape

During study sessions in college my roommate Candice and I used to have a “Holy Ghost Party”. A long jam out session to gospel music to help inspire us to keep focused on our studies as we were determined to graduate in four years from our lovely Home by the Sea.Four years later I still utilize the term that Candice coined whenever I play inspirational music to help me focus on housework and other mundane tasks.

More recently my friend Emily was going through a tough time. I offhandedly mentioned that I listen to “Take Me to the King” on my  rough days. Emily is an adorable, blonde, super preppy Palm Beach girl and had never heard gospel music before and implored that I make her a mixtape. And thus I became: DJ Deliverance and appropriately named my mixtape “the Holy Ghost Party: a short primer on contemporary gospel music to get you through the blues. I have since shared it with several others with lots of positive feedback; alas, here it is my friends:

HOLY GHOST PARTY

  1.  Take Me to The King- Tamela Man
  2. No Weapon- Fred Hammond
  3. I Won’t Go Back-William McDowell
  4. How Great Is Our God- Chris Tomlin
  5. The Prayer- Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin
  6. We Fall Down, But We Get Up- Donnie McClurkin
  7. Never Would’ve Made It- Marvin Sapp
  8. Jehovah Knows- Lionel Peterson
  9. I Am Not Forgotten- Israel Houghton
  10. Put It On The Altar- Jessica Reedy
  11. You Don’t Know- Kiki Sheard
  12. Victory- Tye Tribbett

There are a lot of great songs missing. Perhaps I will put on my DJ Deliverance hat on and release Vol. 2 in the future.