I’m not a morning person. I do not take morning classes, and while I do prefer working early shifts to enjoy the rest of my day, I find myself not having as much energy as I’d like to enjoy my friends company, work on my hobbies, or do homework after work. But today I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and headed to MetLife Stadium to participate in Run or Dye with my mother, Jen, and Angel. As we raced to the finish line, the colored corn starch in each color station left the sky above us in a cloudy rainbow (it did not taste very well…). Jenn accidentally threw the dyed corn starch in my mouth about two times, but I couldn’t get mad, I was too busy having fun! The after party had everyone dancing, throwing their color packets, and singing along to epic songs, like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”.The most amazing part of participating in the event was feeling the love from everyone there, it radiated throughout the entire parking lot! It felt so great seeing my mother dance and smile, I’m glad she was able to experience this with me, because I enjoy bringing out the kid in her. After the party ended, we volunteered to help the staff clean the area by picking up trash and bringing down the Run or Dye banners. If you haven’t participated in a color run, I suggest you place that in your bucket list to complete by the end of the summer, you won’t regret it, trust me! It’s the most happiest 5k you’ll ever experience!
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” -Shakespeare
If you enjoy volunteering and giving back to your community, you know nothing feels greater to give back to those in need. I’ve always admired those who dedicate their lives to volunteering for the greater good and I’ve always felt it was something I’d love to do. I’ve volunteered here and there and have always wished to do something more, but it has always been difficult for me since I attend school full-time, work part-time, and intern in the city two days out of the week. Thankfully, the interns in the office received in email asking if we would like to volunteer on March 5, for Good Deeds Day in New York City. Obviously, I said yes (after asking my advisor of course!), and was even more ecstatic that a couple of the people I met at the office were also joining me!
On the day of, I met with Sebastian, Mallory, and Mallory’s friend Villi at the train station where we walked to Times Square to check in and catch the unveiling of the Good Deeds Day bus.
After all of the photos and videos were taken, all of the volunteers headed on the bus to our first stop of the day. We stopped at the Grand Street Settlement Day Care Center to read with children in several classrooms. Some of the children were very shy, others were brave and outgoing. The greatest part about this first stop was being able to interact with all of the children and observe how they opened up to us after reading several books. The second stop we participated with other volunteers to paint a mural at a community center in the west side. On the third stop, we created pillow cases and flags for children who were living with cancer. Sebastian, Mallory, Villi, and I were not able to complete the other events for Good Deeds Day, but it was an incredible success. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to experience something like this with such great people.
One of the best highlights of the day had to be on the Good Deeds Day bus, traveling from the first stop to the second stop. My intern friends and I thought it would be a great idea to imitate the ever so famous Oscar selfie by having everyone on the bus partake in our selfie. Before counting to three, I told everyone to create a heart with their hands since it was a day of spreading love. I was astounded that these older people were so cooperative and excited to try something new, it made my heart melt!
If you haven’t volunteered, I recommend you find a cause you’re truly passionate about, and give it a try. It’s important to give back to your community or those in need-it’s important to make a difference in this cold, weary world. It feels so rewarding to know that you’ve made someone’s day, and that you may have been the reason they were able to smile or feel good inside. After this experience, I’ll make sure to make much more of an effort to volunteer for several of the causes I’m extremely passionate about. I cannot wait to spread positive vibes, one volunteering experience at a time!
July was a pretty successful month, I was able to complete all of my resolutions and celebrate my 22nd birthday. But the highlight of July was celebrating my mom’s one year breast cancer survivor anniversary.
On July 19th, 2012, my mother had her lumpectomy operation, followed by 44 radiation sessions and a hysterectomy months later.My mother and I have always been close, but ever since her diagnosis, we have become inseparable. My friends know that I talk about my mother constantly and I hope they never get tired of it because they all know she means so much to me, she is my best friend, my everything.
I did not want her to feel alone in this battle so I made sure to keep her uplifted and happy. We registered a team of 20 for the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure in Central Park, I surprised her with an all pink benefit dinner to help pay her medical bills- anything you can think of, I’ve done it for her. It was a difficult year for the both of us, but we pulled through together.
I was surprised (but excited) that my mom actually wanted to celebrate her one year anniversary. Throughout the year (and even now) she has received anonymous gifts at our home, some were books of survivors, fairy warrior princesses, and survivor shirts. She was happy about them at first, but after awhile she broke down and said, “the gifts are thoughtful and I’m very appreciative of the support and the gifts but they’re a reminder of everything that I’ve been going through and it’s all so overwhelming.”
Although her anniversary is a reminder in itself, we decided to surprise her with several things to have her look at the positive aspect of it (her support system!). We drove to the city to have lunch in a hot pink escalade/limo. I surprised her with a hot pink ribbon shaped cake and a T-shirt specifically designed for her celebration, which she very much enjoyed. As we drove around the city, my mother smiled and proudly showed strangers her shirt as they took pictures of us all in the limo.
The celebration continued at Seaside Heights in the evening. My mother and I wanted to encounter Sandy’s aftermath. Nostalgia hit us strong as we walked along the boardwalk and enjoyed freshly squeezed lemonade and fried Oreos. Sandy did a great deal of damage to Seaside and probably will never look as I remembered it when I celebrated my previous birthdays there. But I do hope next summer Seaside is up and running because I’m a huge fan of the shore- not because of a show that was broadcasted on MTV, but because I’ve made great memories with the people I love.
Needless to say, I was able to accomplish two things from my July list and make my mother happy. I hope my mother would want to celebrate her survival every year, as I feel it will help her conquer future obstacles that may come our way. I love my mother very much and will always be grateful for everything she has done for me, we share a bond that not many mother and daughters share with each other today. Happy August!
After much concentration on the canvas and my hair dryer being aimed at the crayons, I have finally completed my first project. I’ve seen this specific project on various social media sites and have decided to take it upon myself and figure out how to create my own. I’ve always thought they were pretty cool, so why not try it? I tried incorporating seashells that I collected from the Jersey shore, but some of them fell off. Apparently, the glue from the glue-gun I had used for the crayons and seashells did not mesh very well with the heat from the hair dryer. I plan on gluing the shells back on after I’ve painted them with a couple of unused crayons in a bit..
I’m really happy with the outcome of the project and cannot wait to hang it on my wall after I’ve completed painting my room. These resolutions are sure fulfilling, I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking to them this month and I’m feeling so accomplished with everything that I’ve completed so far. Yay!
The process after ten minutes:
The finishing touches:
If you haven’t tried it- you’re missing out! This has been the coolest thing so far that I have ever cooked/baked in my life. I love baking cupcakes but this rainbow cake was something else. I looked up a couple of recipes that people have posted online, and found one that I was extremely curious about: using Sprite (yes, the soda) to substitute for the eggs,water, etc. At my first try at this, I decided to go for this recipe, assuming it would come out great. After the cake was complete, it was not what I expected it to look like (needless to say, this is why I will NOT post a picture of it on here, lol). Therefor, I recommend for anyone trying to bake a rainbow cake to please follow the regular instructions if you are not a pro baker!
I finally accomplished the rainbow cake on my second try at it and I was pretty pleased with myself. Make sure to get your friends or family involved while the process is still ongoing because it makes it more fun (I’m all about getting others involved in the projects that I accomplish) and you might even motivate them to try other things on their own.
Here are a few tips when preparing for the baking process:
- Make sure to purchase a flat pan ( that way the batter comes out evenly and smoothly unto the pan and the colors are spread out)
- Purchase food coloring, any food coloring
- Purchase the WHITE CAKE mix (not vanilla, not funfetti)
- Follow the directions with the food coloring
- Make sure to pour the batter in each cup EVENLY
- Try purchasing a really fun bright colored icing to make the cake pop even more (they’ve got a hot pink vanilla icing at Target)
Departure from: Bayonne, New Jersey
Estimated Arrival: Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., Bermuda
So our family vacation was a success! We boarded Celebrity Summit, a very different cruise line that took some adjustment because we were so used to the Carnival cruise lines, but we survived! The two days out at sea were a bit of a drag, but I’m thankful my best friend joined me on the journey because it gave us a chance to bond and include my mother on the fun activities the ship had to offer (it was also her first time on a cruise).
Bermuda was such an incredible experience. We arrived on Wednesday morning and were scheduled to leave Friday afternoon, giving us plenty of time to explore the island. The first day we took a bus to Horseshoe Bay Beach, where I was able to play in the pink sand and soak up some of the sun. Jenn, my mother, and I ventured off to different areas of the beach, discovering caves and sharp cliffs. The greatest moment of that day was watching my mother climb a cliff and jump straight into the salty teal water. Never have I encountered my mother conquer a fear of hers (she was afraid of heights and anything that had to do with water, as she did not know how to swim very well). But as she jumped a second time from the cliff, I sat there, astonished at the fact that I was more chicken to jump from it than she was.
We walked back to shore to lie out and admire the ocean view. As I lay next to my mother, Jenn asked, “What has gotten into you? Never have I once imagined you jumping off a cliff! And yet you jumped off and it took Beatrice and I awhile to do it!” I agreed with Jenn and added that she was also afraid of many things, especially roller coasters (it’s the height issue). “After everything I’ve been through this past year with breast cancer, lumpectomy operation and radiation sessions, I’ve decided to conquer my fears. When I head back home, they need to find what the lump in my right breast is, so I figured what the hell- I might have to undergo another operation for it and my time is now, I want to do things I’ve never imagined myself doing,” my mother said.
She didn’t notice, but tears trickled down my face as she spoke, because it was at that moment where I was just SO PROUD of her! I was watching my mother rise from her own ashes, like a phoenix, and become such a courageous, fearless person. I had a feeling deep down that Nick Nikias, an old friend who passed away from cancer just a year ago, had something to do with this. Nikias was edging her on to jump off the cliff, to face her fears and guide her towards happiness. I truly thank Nikias for that.
The next two days we stayed close to the ship and shopped around for souvenirs and speak with the locals at Snorkel Bay beach. We experienced a beach party with Bermudians as well! Everyone was so friendly and so caring; the weather was perfect- I did not want to leave! After boarding the ship Friday afternoon, we watched the ship move away from Bermuda on the top deck. Here, we all took time to reflect on everything we accomplished throughout the week: we partook in zumba for a cause, where the proceeds went to The Breast Cancer Foundation, we danced each and every night at the club to the point where guests of the ship would recognize us and compliment us all on our dancing skills, we were even grateful to view a couple of Broadway shows the ship had scheduled for us.
Caribbean’s, I will be seeing you next summer ❤
Last Friday I was able to cross off “The Color Run” experience from my bucket list. Rutgers University has taught me through this event that they truly do provide so much for their students, especially if you’re interested in getting involved. I figured it was time to start experiencing what the university offers me before I graduate. Looking back on this day, I knew this was something I knew I had to attend again- but with my family and friends.
We started off with registration, where we received vibrant shades to cover our eyes from the colored cornstarch and a neat bandana. Once registering, there was an open field for the students, families and friends that offered free refreshments (fried Oreos, ice cream and our very own KnightWagon- YUM!), a tie-dye station, live performances, inflatable obstacle courses, and a photo-booth to take pictures with our mascot, the Scarlet Knight. The run started shortly after where everyone lined up in a sea of white tee’s. There were volunteers along the way that motivated us to keep running as well as five different color stations (my favorite color stations had to be blue and purple)!
We started off in white and ended the run in so much color (and an after party)! As I ran, I saw so many contagious smiles on students faces and thought: This was the best way to end the semester. I had a tough transfer year at Rutgers and have not been doing my best because I had a difficult time adjusting (I’m going through transfer shock), but this has inspired me to start off the next semester doing great things. This was the first time the university created an event like this but I hope they continue it as I deem it a successful experience.
I am now registering a team for The Color Run in August with my friends and family. If you haven’t experienced this- you must do so as soon as possible! Especially if you want to experience a surrounding filled with nothing but positivity! If you’re interested for more information on The Color Run, go to http://www.thecolorrun.com and view the videos- they will convince you to attend, trust me!