Thankful: An A to Z Guide to Giving Thanks…G…H

G is for….

the ‘Gram

After several years of taking a hiatus from Instagram, I decided to put myself back out there and created an IG for Thoughtsbelike. Its been the best thing I could do for the blog thus far. Instagram has come along way; I remember when it was just a pic sharing iPhone exclusive app. Now you can upload videos, advertise, and promote. It’s the perfect way to branch out to a broader audience while also keeping up with friends and pop culture. And for that, I’m grateful.

 

H is for…

Harlem

When I received the offer in the mail for an apartment in Central Harlem, I didn’t know what to expect. Being from the Bronx, my knowledge of Harlem was limited due to my minimal experience traveling there (with the exception of getting my hair braided). We moved in with high hopes (and fingers crossed) only to have what little expectations we had succeeded tenfold. Its more than just a convenient commute to and from work, there’s history here.  A sense of community. Even post gentrification, the culture is so rich: from the people to the buildings to the boutiques.  Sure it has it quirks (the noise level got me like -_-) but the view from my Terrace trumps all of that. And for that, I’m grateful.

 

Thankful: An A to Z Guide to Giving Thanks…E…F

E is for…

Evolution

This year was a monumental growing experience for me emotionally. As someone who suffers from anxiety, my emotions are usually on overload. Between feeling angry, sad and overwhelmed my day to day is usually dictated by whatever emotion is in the forefront that day. And that was taking a toll on me socially and romantically. Standard conversations would turn into explosive shouting matches, minor day to day errors were often taken personally and blown out of proportion. However, with some wise words and support from my Beau and some heavy soul searching/revamping I told myself enough was enough and slowly but surely I started to mature emotionally and evolve as a person. And for that I’m grateful.

 

 

F is for…

Friends

Every year my meaning of this word changes. And rightfully so. People mature and priorities change. What is a friend really? I don’t think it’s necessarily measured by the time spent but the quality of the time shared. It’s not whether or not you get to hang often but who comes to mind if and when you’re ready for laughs and shenanigans. And because I’m a kindred spirit with a colorful personality, I have friends for all aspects of myself.

Social media friends

Who’s ready to turn up?

!!!Playdates!!!

Lets go on an adventure!

All things Geeky

 

So whether I text you sporadically, tag you in memes daily or chill with you on a monthly basis, just know you are loved just the same. And for your friendship, I am grateful.

 

Ky Vs the Nuclear Ramen Challenge 

When I heard that there was a spicy ramen challenge circulating the internet challenging the contestants to eat the spiciest ramen in the world I was like “bish where 👀”.  Two ebay purchases of Samyang Extra Spicy Ramen and 3 business days later the husband and I were good and ready to challenge ourselves and each other 😈

 

 

My husband claimed this victory. In my defense, it wasn’t that I couldn’t handle the heat. I genuinely didn’t enjoy the taste. That combined with the fact that I wasn’t hungry yet I was forcibly shoving food down my throat, caused me to (purposely) slow down toward the end. So yeah, I lost. But don’t worry. There will be a part 2…

Thankful: An A to Z Guide to Giving Thanks…D

D is for…

Delilah

Oh Delilah how I love thee. Let me count the ways:

D is for all of the days you’ve blessed me with your presence…1,580 to be exact

E is for your energy that seems to know no bounds

L is for “Lala”. The first nickname I ever gave you ^.^

I is for your imagination; ever active and ever growing

L is for life. Because the existence of yours has always improved mine (and will continue to do so)

A is for amaze. Which you never cease to do.

H is for humor. Because your silliness runs deep

And for that, I’m thankful.

Thankful: An A to Z Guide to Giving Thanks…C

 

C is for…

Concerts

2017 was an adventurous year for me. I got two go to not one but two legendary concerts this year: JCOLE to celebrate my cousins birthday and Bruno Mars to celebrate my anniversary. They were both metamorphic experiences in their own right.

JCOLE was a true outer body experience. As we sang along (at the top of our lungs) to his heartfelt and raw intricate lyrics, i felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. From crowd favorites (“Can’t get enough” and “power trip” to name a few) to my personal favorite (“a tale of 2 cities”) he gave his all and then some to Brooklyn on August 1st 2017 and even managed to perform his WHOLE ALBUM with visuals to boot. Hats off to the GAHD.

‘fit of the day

#gang #gang

Happy 22nd bday cuzzo

Bruno Mars was a night that was straight out of a fairlytale. It was the first time in a long time I got to break out heels and a dress so I made sure everything was on point (including my face. Beat by the lovely Lisa Suarez). This was our anniversary gift to each other and boy, did Bruno Mars deliver. There’s nothing more romantic than being serenaded LIVE by your favorite singer while you and you’re beau sway side to side  singing along to your favorite love songs. Bruno hit us with some new (“Versace on the Floor”, “Straight Up and Down”) some old (“the way you are” ) some upbeat (“Perm” ,“Runaway Baby”) and brought it together with some nice and slow (“if I was your man”). By the end of the night we laughed, danced, smiled, sang along and even got blessed with a 3 songs encore!! And for that, I’m thankful.

At Carmines…another C fave

Happy anniversary to us <3

Thankful: An A to Z Guide to Giving Thanks…B

B is for…

Baking

I remember being young and awe struck watching my mother and grandmother whip up a meal in the kitchen and being anxious to learn. One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen has always been baking and I have instilled this love in my little one. From brookies to brownies to apple turnovers, I’ve had many baking adventures with my family this year. Its fun, exciting, educational and an inventive way to spend quality time with family. And for that, I’m grateful.

Apple Crisps

Not to my mother’s standards but Delilah approved 🙂

Apple Turnovers

Bae and Delilah measuring the butter 

Apples+sugar+cinnamon+cornstarch=noms

Time to fold the puff pastries!

Light, flaky apple goodness

 

Thankful: An A to Z Guide to Giving Thanks…A

A is for…

Ashley

Titi. Sissy. My wonder twin. King Swindle.

I am grateful for your addition to our household. Your contributions physically, financially and emotionally are the little touches we didn’t even know we were missing! From those talented hands to that brilliant brain, you have single handedly increased the happiness in 13C. And for that, I am thankful.

Apples

I had the chance to go on my first ever apple picking trip this year and it was a joyous occasion. From the discovery of new varieties (Winesap anyone?) to all of the many ways to use them (donuts. cider. crisp and turnovers to name a few) apples have made everlasting memories for my family this year. And for that, I am thankful.

Apple Cinnamon Donuts. Farm Fresh. Bae approves

Get ready for apple flavored errything

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ky VS the Board of Education

Delilah, being born in 2013, will be making her way to Elementary school next year! With that being said, my Husband and I are on a quest to find the best school District 5 has to offer. Considering that Charter schools have a lottery selection process and the school for Talented & Gifted requires a test score of 90+ for entry, our safest bet is to go with Public Schools. Besides, like my husband would say, not ALL Public Schools are bad right? Sorry to disappoint, but just off of statistics alone I’m turned off to the Public School system.

While I was searching through the Kindergarten directory, in our District specifically, there are 14 elementary schools. The directory offers minor insight to each listing : ex: the State Math and State English test proficiencies. Of the 14 schools, only one of them had over a 50% math proficiency. It doesn’t look much better for English, where the highest average on record is 39%. Now, every child learns differently and sometimes things like pressure and timing play a roll in test results but HOLY SHIT that’s embarrassing. I went on to investigate a few pages to the left and it just so happens that the schools from Districts 1, 2 and 3 perform better overall. Surprise surprise, the students who attend schools from Downtown Manhattan to the Upper West Side produced better statistics.

Now before you get all up in arms and roll your eyes at the previous statement, I’d like to bring something to your attention: New York has the most segregated schools in the United States. Yes, this melting pot of a city which is as rich in culture as it is in status holds the title for the most segregated schools. How did they manage to pull this off? By separating us by class. Isn’t that illegal? Well, lets break it down:

The boroughs are divided up into Districts. Districts are assigned to neighborhoods. Residents of these assigned neighborhoods get first priority into their District. Siblings get second priority. Now, although you are allowed to apply to schools outside of your district, the odds are up against you. If there are 100 seats for a school in District 1 and 50 applicants reside within District 1’s barriers, 25 of which have siblings who are also applying, that already reduces your chances by 75%.

Now let’s say, you live in a neighborhood where poverty and crime rates are high. Considering that everyone in your District’s boundaries are getting priority into the neighboring schools, what do you think the condition of the schools are going to be? The supplies will be scarce and second-hand, the teachers will be unqualified, the staff turnover rates will be through the roof and the quality of education will be lacking.

Having to take all of these things into account has been overwhelming. After all, your education can make or break you as an adolescent. Being exposed (or NOT exposed) to certain things can shape your views on the future, education, and your peers. Ideally, Delilah would go to school with like minded children who have a love of self and a thirst for knowledge. Her teacher(s) will be equal parts attentive and nurturing while adhering to the needs of the children (as opposed to drilling lessons into their brains for the sake of test scores). Despite the odds, I remain optimistic. Well, wish me luck…

Inkredible Kai

Guys, I have a secret…I have superpowers. What’s my power, you ask? I can get anything I want using only my will power. Sometimes it takes a while but inevitably I get what I want and how I want it. Still in disbelief? I have 3 major examples of how I made this happen.

Anthony

When I first met my husband he was breaking hearts and taking names. He wasn’t interested in marriage, having (additional) children, hell he wasn’t even interested in me! Fast forward to 7 years later, we’re now married with children. How is it that I managed to get a man who wasn’t interested in me or monogamy to be wed by 25? By power of will.

 

Housing

Ever since I was a little girl, I had dreams of living in the city. I remember apartment hunting online at 13 and getting starry eyed at the sight of skyscrapers, walk in closets and $2000 rent (ha.). Despite being born and raised in the projects of the Bronx, I always told myself I would end up in the City. I got to the city by the time I was 24 but it wasn’t under ideal circumstances. Although I was minutes away from Central Park, Whole Foods and conveniently accessible to the 7th ave and 8th ave train lines (yasss for convenience) I realized that it wasn’t enough to live in the city, I needed to make it out of the Projects. I started actively looking for a new place in January 2015; I moved into my Lenox Ave Mitchell Lama apartment by August 2015. How did I manage to make it into a building whose waiting list(s) are notoriously decades long within a matter of months? By power of will.

 

Employment

I’ve been working since I was 14. Considering that I will be 28, that means I’ve been employed for half of my life. I can count on one hand how many jobs I’ve had that I’ve actually enjoyed. But this is nothing new, after all, we don’t work because we want to we work because we have to. No matter the circumstances, you’re just supposed to thug it out because how else are you going to survive? And in my experience, I’ve had to power through some circumstances: bullying, long hours, horrible salaries, impossible schedules, unjust punishment, unprofessionalism, cliques, I could go on for days. I’ve switched my career path at least 3 times and in my last job role, I was so mentally scarred that the thought of going to work gave me an anxiety attack. Despite my working conditions, I was told to power through and make it work because I had a family to support. But I knew I wanted better for myself. I was tired of coming home too late to spend time with my daughter. I was tired of being bullied by my boss. I was tired of not being able to enjoy my money. I was tired of long stressful commutes. I was tired of swallowing my disgust for money. I promised myself that if I were fortunate enough to find somewhere else, I wouldn’t settle. I would be in an ideal atmosphere, making an ideal salary, with the perfect schedule AND location. I wanted the whole quadfecta. I started actively looking for a new job in July 2016 and by August 2016 a company took a gamble on me and hired me for a position I had never done before and I’ve been kicking ass ever since. How did I make it happen? I think you know the answer to that by now…