Kindness is contagious
“Kindness is choosing to acknowledge and celebrate the beauty in others, regardless of whether or not they can find it in themselves.”
I remember the first time I ever witnessed someone being treated unkindly. I was in the 5th grade at a Catholic school that I attended. I moved around a lot due to traveling for acting so it was always difficult making lasting friendships. I was excited because after a couple months of being in my classroom I felt as if I had finally made some friends. A little over 2 months after I had started a new student who we called Maggie started as well. She was gorgeous, a curtain of ebony hair, rich bronze skin, and doe like brown eyes. I remember her being extremely quiet and reserved but I figured it was because she was just new. I hoped she would come out of her shell like I did. As I was sitting one week with my friends at the lunch table I noticed Maggie eating alone. I suggested that she should come sit with us. I knew how being the new kid was hard and without hesitation I invited her to our table. She remained quiet, idly staring at her food hidden in a container. My friends and I chit chatted about what we did over the weekend but she remained glued to her covered food. I thought it was bizarre how she didn't eat like the rest of us but I didn't think very much of it at the time.
A couple of days later I found Maggie inside a stall, with her lunch, and she was sitting inside of there eating. I didn't know what to say, I didn't want to ease drop or be rude but I had to ask if she was okay. I can't describe the emotion in her eyes as she showed her exotic food, saying that she didn't want to eat in front of people anymore because they would make fun of the way it smelled and looked. To me the food looked normal, possibly because I was introduced to ethnic foods from my parents. They were adamant with trying new exotic flavors and cuisines. My heart broke when she said that some of my fellow peers referred to her food as pig scraps. What could I say? How could I apologize and undo the damage that had already been implanted in her brain? All I could say is that I was sorry and offered our table once more. She didn't come back to our table, sadly, the scar of teasing had cast a mold over her heart.
A week after that I remember Maggie coming to school in a baggy hoodie over her uniform. Something looked different about her that day. Her long mass of ebony hair was unkempt and pushed up into a bun. There were dark circles underneath her eyes and she just looked so tired. Not physically but emotionally. Every day we would pick a new student to say The Our Father in front of the classroom after we would say the pledge of allegiance. Today was Maggie's turn. I remember the teaching calling her and Maggie staying still in her seat. I remember all the hawk-like eyes blaring at her as she raised her head in the back of the classroom and said "No." The class had a couple of snickers and one student even uttered the annoying "ohhhh". The teacher seemed annoyed and reiterated that she had to say prayer, everyone had to do it. Maggie then explained that she would always stand in respect to the prayer but due to being Muslim she didn't want to state the prayer out loud herself. The teacher wouldn't hear any other word she immediately sent her to the office as the other students laughed out loud and called her weird. Maggie didn't return to our school the next week. I never saw her again. I was so young back then that I didn't fully understand what was occurring around me. All I know is my heart sunk for this girl. I feel so awful even to this day that I didn't say or do more. Even though we didn't have much in common I never wanted to see someone hurt the way that she hurt.
I bring this up because the last couple of months I have seen so things that reminded me of how I felt as that fifth grade student. I've witnessed hurtful acts happening to people. I have seen people been treated unfairly due to the color of their skin. I have also seen people ridiculed for their beliefs. Being a Christian I believe that people should be treated equally, no matter their skin color, their gender, or what they believe in. To me we are all created in God's love and light. Therefore, I have tried to make it my mission to spread kindness and speak up for what I believe is right. I couldn't fully speak up for Maggie back then but I can speak up for others in her place.
There's little things that we can all do to spread kindness. One of the things is educate yourself. If you find someone who is different from you do research on their culture and what makes them unique. Also, it's okay to ask questions. In fact, if you have a friend that is different, hold a conversation with them I am sure they are happy to educate you on their culture and beliefs.
Do a small act of kindness for someone. I was in line at Starbucks a couple of days ago. I was having a really tough day. As I drove up to the window I was surprised that the person in front of me had paid for my drink. It was something so small but it truly made my day. I extended the favor and paid for the person behind me. Hopefully, I made their day too. Now, am I changing the world, or ending climate change? No, but I am starting a small ripple effect of kindness and I hope that it inspires you as well too.
You have suggestions on how to spread kindness? Comment below. Happy Monday love bugs! Remember to be kind and love one another.
Home sweet home!
Purchasing a home during a pandemic
As you all may have heard my husband and I are officially homeowners. I cannot believe that this time has come. Two years ago my husband and I started down the path of home-ownership. It was a tough decision because we loved living in our condo downtown. Not only did it benefit both of our work, me being a blogger, and him being close to work, but being close to the beach was hard to give up. However, it was a goal that I know both him and I wanted to complete before we were thirty. I’m not going to lie, it was something difficult to do, not many young adults own homes in their twenties especially in Chicago because prices for homes can be quite expensive. Yet, through extensive saving, and gracious family members, we were able to make our dream happen.
As I said our search started two years ago but sadly we decided, after searching for a while, that we would have to wait another year before being homeowners. I mention this because I want you to know that saying, “maybe next year,” isn’t a BAD thing. Buying a home is a big commitment and at the time I was so upset that it didn’t happen. However, it’s okay to take your time and make sure that the home you decide upon is the right place for you and your significant other.
After a year of laying low and enjoying our beautiful condo we decided to try our search again. The first step is finding a real estate agent that you truly trust. We talked to a couple, and they were all great, but they didn’t seem to fit us. That is when we met Alicia Kuzma. They say you can tell a kind person by just speaking with them. Although we hadn’t officially seen Alicia both my husband and I could tell over the phone that she was the perfect realtor for us. Not only was she a great listener, but she also treated us with so much kindness and respect. A lot of realtors that we spoke to didn’t seem to take us seriously, partly because of our budget and because of our age. It is something that we became used to because it was a predisposition that we just couldn’t seem to shake. Alicia saw past all of that, she saw us, a young family looking to start a home and life together. That was the difference, that is why we decided to move forward with Alicia.
We contacted Alicia at the beginning of the year because we wanted to give each other enough time to look before our lease was up (which was in May). During that time we were both traveling for work and we expressed that to her. However, she was still amazing at sending us places to look at so that when the travels were over we could go and visit some homes.
We started in a neighborhood that we believed would be the best for us. We thought that they were safe, close to work, and a place that we would be happy living. However, after viewing some of the homes in these neighborhoods, we realized that they didn’t match up with our vision that we had for ourselves. Another helpful tip for first time home buyers is it’s OKAY to say no. I had to tell myself that several times because a couple of times I felt myself being okay with settling simply because I wanted to find a home already. Never settle, you deserve to find a place that makes you feel butterflies when you walk inside. My husband and I also had a bit of conflicting views on what we wanted. He wanted a bit of a fixer upper, I wanted something completely move-in ready. This is a normal conflict that happens to spouses because everyone has their own definition of what they dream of living in. My husband came from living on a farm in a home that his parents pretty much built from the ground. He was taught that if you fix something yourself, or build something yourself, it becomes that much more special. I came from a suburb and both my parents could barely change a light-bulb. Therefore, I had a different idea of home.
The key to success is compromise. We decided that we would find a place pretty much move-in ready but if it needed a fix, like the basement needed some work, we would consider it.
We voiced our opinions to Alicia and she came up with a solution, maybe we try a new neighborhood. She knew we wanted more bang for our buck, but didn’t want to compromise on safety. Therefore, she sent us more homes, in a different neighborhood, and both my husband and I instantly fell in love with a place we didn’t even know existed. For safety purposes I will not let you know what neighborhood it was, but, just know that sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone. Trust your realtor and allow them to give you suggestions because without this change of location we would have never found our perfect home.
There was a house, a two bedroom, one bathroom, Georgian that I fell in love with in pictures. It was owned by a family, well decorated, and just screamed home from the pictures. Alicia immediately hopped on getting us a viewing. I believe we went the next day to see the home and as soon as I stepped inside it all hit me. This could be my home. I was attracted to the openness of the home, the amazing updated kitchen, and the deck that led to the back yard. It needed some updates, but overall it was such a beautiful starter home. What packaged it all together was the fact that you could feel the warmth inside of the home as if the family spread love all throughout this place and I loved that feeling. Both Patrick and I loved this place and we started the process of putting in an offer.
Putting an offer is possibly the scariest thing you could ever do. There're many emotions that go through your mind, excitement, fear, and the nagging feeling of letting go because at that point it is out of your hands. We had an issue with our pre approval letter because the home was a bit more than we initially got approved for. Sadly, we ended up losing the home because our loan agent at the time didn’t get the new approval letter over to Alicia in time.
This is where I am going to be real with you all. This process is hard, especially when your whole heart and emotions are involved. It’s difficult to say good-bye to a place you could truly see yourself living in. It’s hard to sometimes let go. However, through prayer, speaking with family, and the kind words from our realtor we had to accept that this home pretty much wasn’t meant to be.
I am not going to lie, it was hard looking at other places after losing what I thought would be my dream home. Every other place felt inadequate. I couldn’t help but compare every other place to the one that I feel in love with. It felt like going through a break-up dating other people but nothing compared to the love, emotion, and peace that you felt in your breakup. I literally felt scared from losing that place. This emotion is okay to feel. There will be days where you want to just give up altogether and just say, okay, maybe next year. I thought about that several times afterwards. However, my husband’s encouragement mixed with our realtor’s understanding, is what made me want to continue on.
We viewed a couple other Georgians after that. I knew that I loved that style of home because it had this old elegance that I became drawn too. The European architecture is something that I have always found fascinating so I swear we viewed almost every Georgian that came on the market in that location. Alicia was on top of sending every place our way and taking us to viewings abruptly after. I have never met someone so accommodating basically catering to our schedule. We had found two homes that seemed to catch our attention but after discussing with my husband we decided to put another offer on a home that had such a beautifully renovated kitchen. This kitchen was so beautiful y’all that it made me want to cook everything under the sun inside of it. It caught my husband’s eye because the upstairs needed a bit of a renovation so he focused on that project. Sadly, that place ended up not going through and at that point the world seemed to flip upside down. It was a week before the lock down, that is when we found out that we didn’t get that house either due to the owner wanting to stick to the originally listing price. Reality, set in. We knew as a young couple that we had to stay within budget. It is so important to stick within that budget and be realistic - something that my husband is much better at than I am. I mourned the loss of that place and once the fear of Covid-19 started creeping in I thought: wow, this is it. There’s no way we will find a place now.
I remember distinctly getting the text from Alicia. It was on a Friday I was at work and it was right after my boss basically told everyone that we would start the process of working from home. The text said to check a listing that she sent that immediately had come on the market that day. I remember being exhausted, scarred, but something inside me said: try again. I remember looking at the pictures of this home and immediately felt drawn to it, without thinking I told Alicia we had to see this place immediately. She arranged the viewing that day. In fact, right after work we all drove out to see the house.
I remember driving up to the house and telling my husband wow, I really love this place. Not only was it a Georgian that looked so well kept but the neighborhood looked so family orientated as well. I remember waiting outside on the driveway telling Alicia “Alicia, this could be the one.”
Have you ever felt this feeling of home, of familiarity, even without being at this place before? That is the only way I could describe what I felt entering this home. There was love there, kindness, and this sense of peace that I adored. It helped meeting the owner, someone who had built that house up himself. You could feel his love for his family, for his accomplishments in the home, and he expressed he wanted the next owner to love this place as much as they did. I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay right here in this home, because in my mind I knew this three-bedroom, two bath, Georgian was my forever.
We put in an offer that night and Saturday, the next day in the evening Alicia sent over a text that literally changed our life. The owner had accepted our offer!
That was step one completed and excitement is literally an understatement. Both my husband and I felt sheer and utter bliss. Afterwards, Alicia walked us through the entire rest of the process which became a lot more difficult because of the shelter in place. We had to do a home inspection quickly and luckily we had no issues doing so through the shelter in place. However, due to the banks being closed and people working from home the process of everything took much longer than expected. Make sure if you are looking to purchase a home start as early as you can because it’s always better to have more time than none at all.
The process already takes a bit but due to Covid-19 it takes even longer. We were supposed to close April 30th, 2020. However, despite both Alicia and our amazing loan agent trying everything they could we couldn’t officially close until May 1st, 2020. Luckily, our condo manager allowed us to stay an extra day without any repercussions.
May 1st, 2020 my husband and I drove up to a building and I remember thinking : this is so much different than how I expected it to be. I couldn’t even go in to sign everything with my husband because only one person was allowed in. Our agent, who has always attended the signing wasn’t even allowed in due to the regulations with social distancing. It was a bittersweet process but through it all I couldn’t help but think how blessed I was for this to even still happen despite all the odds against us. When my husband came out with paperwork to OUR new home I couldn’t help but cry from happiness.
We met Alicia at our home and she handed us the keys and I couldn’t think of any other person fit to do so. I said this before in my stories but I will say it again. Alicia became so much more than just our realtor, but she truly became a part of our family. There’s a difference between working a job and putting 100 percent effort in. She went above and beyond for us and because of her we found a place that will impact our lives forever. I do believe that God allows you to meet people for a reason and she truly became an angel to us through this difficult process.
Another difficulty we had to face purchasing a home during quarantine is moving. Patrick and I didn’t want to put anyone from our family in danger. Therefore, we anticipated moving by ourselves. It was difficult because as you all probably know I cannot lift very much myself. Therefore, after discussing that day we were lucky to have two friends (who wore masks and we wore masks) come to our aid. It’s a tough decision to make but something you truly need to think about if you purchase a home during the quarantine. Is there a right or wrong answer? No, there isn’t. You have to do what is best for you and come to that decision yourself.
It’s officially been two weeks since we moved into our home. Even as I write that it brings tears to my eyes because I never thought it could happen. I remember starting this process two years ago with a dream and hope of finding my forever home. All the tears, hard work, rejection it was all worth it because we ended up finding a place that was perfectly made for us. I wanted to create this post and document this process because I want young people to not be afraid of purchasing a home. Yes, it’s hard work, yes it’s a lengthy process, but IT CAN be done. You might say, is it even possible to look for homes during a quarantine, and I can truthfully say yes. This world is different right now but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your dreams.
When I posted my stories about purchasing a home during Covid-19 I read so many amazing stories of people going through their own hardships. Stay strong and believe in yourself because if it is meant to happen nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop you.
I want to give another huge shout out to all the people that made this possible for us! I want to thank God, who truly kept us sane and humbled through this process. I want to thank our families, both Patrick and I are truly lucky to have had such amazing people to walk us through this process. I want to thank the amazing, talented, and kind Alicia because she truly was a light shining through for us. Lastly, our loan officer Marta, who Alicia introduced us too. She truly worked so hard to also make this all happen.
I wish you all the best luck in purchasing or searching for a home during Covid-19. If you are looking for a realtor please see Alicia’s information below, you honestly couldn’t find a better person to assist you.
Thank you to all who read our story. I cannot wait to read all of yours. Remember, stay safe, stay optimistic, and keep smiling.
Until next time love bugs.
the best place to watch bachelor in chicago
Happy Wednesday love bugs. I'm calling out all my Bachelor nation fans to this post. All my girls who love to watch Bachelor, sip wine, and eat good food, this post is for you. I recently got invited to view my favorite show, The Bachelor, at Racine Plumbing on Monday and I have to say, it was such an amazing experience! The entire atmosphere is super cute, with their roses and candles lining the table. They have a dedicated portion of the bar, known as the Fantasy Suite, that you get to view the show at all angles. It's a girl's dream come true! Did I mention the entire back of the bar is adorned in glimmering lights that sets the perfect atmosphere for the show. I mean, if the Bachelor decided to come to Chicago, they should check this place out because it's super cute! Not only was bar BACHELORLICIOUS but the food and drinks were up to par as well.
My friends and I had the opportunity to try some of the Bachelor inspired menu options. These drinks and snacks were seriously so delicious and just made the experience that much more special. I'm a huge Rose' and Sangria girl, so their cocktail mixed with both, was honestly my favorite drink on the menu. However, there are so many other delicious cocktails that you can try. Also, my babes on a budget, did I mention that the Rose' Sangria is only $7.00? It is such a steal. Also, if Wine has a special place in your heart, like it does in mine, then you will love their $20.00 bottle of Wine deal, it's the perfect add for a fun gals Bachelor viewing night.
Honestly, you're probably thinking okay, it cannot get better than that. Well, you're wrong, not only do they have great drink selections that are affordable, but, they also have great food options as well. I am a sucker for a good burger, and there's did not disappoint. Did I mention their special includes $1.00 burgers, I mean c'mon you cannot get better than that. Not only did we try the burger but we also got to sample their cheese curds, bacon fat popcorn, and their baked mac and cheese. Everything was fresh, filled with flavor, and just so darn good.
It's not very often that you find a bar geared towards perfect girl time and outings. Normally, you find bars blasting sports or other male themed activities. It's so amazing that Racine Plumbing has Bachelor nights every Monday giving girls that special time to relax, unwind, and drink a good glass of wine while watching their shows.
Overall, this place was so much fun and that perfect gal getaway that you need on Monday nights. If you're looking for that special place to get out and view the Bachelor with friends, this is the place for you my friends! I will definitely be back with my Rose' in hand! Hope to see you all there!
Until next time!
First 2020 Post!
Sorry 2019, I'm already booked!
As the new year approaches, I realize that I am walking into it with 2020 vision. I cannot believe that so many amazing things have happened in my life in 2019. I definitely went through some of the hardest times last year. I lost my job and truly focused on myself, who I am, and who I want to be. I felt like 2019 was the discovery year, throwing curveballs at me every step I took. However, through the storm, I honestly found the colors inside of myself that set me free.
I learned to believe in myself more, pray more, and know that nothing in this world can hinder me from pursuing my love and destiny. When I learned to trust in myself and God I soon start to see things fall into place for me. For example, I went a couple of months without actually working but I learned to fully rely on my blog, something I thought I could never truly do. My love for creating and meeting every one of you sparked a fire inside of me. My creativity is what lights my way and I would have never been able to believe in myself and my abilities without losing my job. I honestly do believe that things happen for a reason.
Now, I am currently working a job that I truly love in a field that will help me through my career. I have an amazing boss and friends in and outside of work. Once again, 2019 was my discovery faze.
In 2020, I want to be raw and real showing off the true Rachel. I did this little shoot because so many times you see me dolled up, in fancy outfits, with a complete set of makeup. You see me going to events and doing these amazing travels. However, that is NOT the everyday Rachel. Sure, I love these opportunities for going out and meeting amazing people but that is not entirely who I am.
The other side of Rachel is the homebody that loves to read books, lounge on the couch, and binge Netflix (mostly until I finish an entire show). She loves wearing comfortable clothes, with a messy bun and sees the magic in reading by candlelight. She creates an entire plan on how she will play sims until her eyes become red from staring at the computer all day. She eats an entire bag of flaming hot Cheetos even when she knows it will kill her later. She believes in fairytales even when the world tells her otherwise.
Sometimes, Instagram and this entire social media platform can be a bit misleading. Others see people in a certain light but forget that they are REAL people, we’re all the same. We all have similarities, differences, quirks that combine and make us who we are. Those colors that shape us into flesh and bone are what makes us so beautiful.
In 2020, I challenge you to show the other side the side that not many people may know about. The side that sometimes we want to forget, or abandon. All the multifaceted sides are beautiful because they make up who you are. Remember, that no matter what chapter you are in life, your story isn’t over. It’s simply just begun.
Happy New Year love bugs! Let’s make it a great one!
Until next time,
Chicago Helicopter Experience!
Takin' it to new heights!
As the new year approaches are you ready to take it to new heights? I had the opportunity to collaborate with Chicago Helicopter Experience and let's just say my expectation was HIGHtened to a new level.
The entire experience is so cool. The building is nestled in a remote area of Chicago and is like a small little oasis beyond the city. While you wait you can view some of the helicopters in the back soar into the sky. They also have bags that you can play to pass the time.
You receive a little buzzer and when it's your time to board it will go off. Once you walk towards the take off location you will be prompted to watch an informative video. For all my fearful and strategic followers this one is for you. It calmed my husband's nerves a bit to see all the precautions that the pilot takes.
Once the video is over we were so excited to board the helicopter. They take you out and luckily you have a wonderful videographer and photographer who can capture that special moment for you. You are able to purchase those images at the end of the tour. Image framing that lovely picture of you and your significant other, or family member, with a glorious helicopter in the background.
The helicopter is even cooler in the inside. We were lucky to get front row access so we could sit right next to the pilot, whose name was Matt. All the seats in the helicopter are amazing allowing you to soak up all the stunning views that Chicago has to offer. You can talk to the pilot along with the people on board through your mic set. However, silence is what I experienced because it seemed like everyone wanted to revel in the stunning views. It was nice, however, to hear Matt our pilot, speak about some of the interesting facts as we flew over different landmarks.
If you are wondering what you could see on the flight check out the destinations below copied from the website.
Overall, it was such a beautiful experience and it will surely be one that my husband and I will remember. If you are looking for amazing new year's eve plans I think this would be the perfect one. Also, the beauty of this experience is that it isn't strictly for couples but can be for families, friends, and anyone you want to experience stunning views with.
Huge shout out to the lovely Akira for dressing me for this amazing shoot. If you are looking for the perfect New Years Eve outfit I recommend you to check out their website. I am linking the dress and shoes in case you want to purchase it.
Happy Monday Love bugs, until next time!
having a ball at Deuces!
Happy Monday loves super excited to start this week's post off with a feature about the amazing Deuce's Major League Bar. it's no secret I love to experience fun places around the Chicagoland area and I am a sucker for pop up themes and bars. Deuces does so many fun pop up bars. I have been to the Charm'd one for St. Patrick's day, and I also did the Santa Baby one, you can read about that one here.
I was so excited to get invited to the Major League pop up featuring so much fun stuff about the cubs! You may not know this about me but my father is probably the cub's number one fan. I have only seen him cry once, you may think it was at my wedding when he was giving me away. If you guessed that you are wrong. No, my dad cried only when the cubs won the world series. If that doesn't scream number one fan I don't know what does. This pop up is perfect for sports fans, but, if you're like me, who simply goes to baseball games for the food, excitement, and overall ora, this place is fun for you too!
Deuce never disappoints on their overall presentation of the place. I love the cub's banners, baseball looking memorabilia, and the overall excitement you get from being there.
One of my favorite things about experiencing fun bars in Chicago is tasting and showing you all their fun menu! if you viewed my stories Friday you would've seen the amazing drinks and food that we got to sample.
Bar food can be my guilty pleasure and my friend's and I adored the menu and being able to sample some goodies. The favorites that I tried were the jumbo pretzel, the loaded tater tots (where can you ever go wrong with that?) the pizza poppers, and the fried avocado. Everything that we tasted was simply amazing. If you are looking to go here after a cubs game or ever before this is the perfect bar food to welcome you or host you after a game.
Now my favorite part which is the amazing colorful drinks! The perfect thing about some of these drinks is that they are perfect for sharing with friends, a significant other, or if you're feeling daring, drink it yourself! I shared the Cubby blue, with my best friend and it was the perfect mix of alcohol and sweetness that I truly loved. The great thing is there are so many different shareable drinks that you can choose from and they're all fairly reasonable. If you want something that can share with about 6 people (which were the amount in my group) I suggest you get the wildcard, which is a beautiful concoction of blood orange vodka, sprite, and cotton candy! Sounds heavenly right?
Overall, it was such a great time visiting Deuces they truly never disappoint. To all my out of town followers if you are visiting Chicago in the next couple of months you have to check them out. For all my locals you know the amazing food, music, and drinks that Deuces has to offer but you need to experience it decked out in cubby fashion. Once again thank you guys so much for taking the time to read this post. I love sharing my fun, new, and exciting discoveries with you all! Have a great week! Until next time.
Pride with the Mix
Hey guys happy Monday! I had so much fun being in my first ever parade! It's always been a dream of mine to be in an actual float, so I was thrilled to be in the 2019 Pride Parade float with one of my fav stations, 101.9 The Mix. One of the beautiful things about doing blogging is I get to reach for the stars sometimes. There are things that I hope to check off my bucket list and luckily I can do so for this. It's always such a surreal feeling when blogging allows me to check some cool things off my box of 'goals and lifetime dreams.' I was so thankful to be a part of this amazing event and see all the beautiful people that came out to celebrate. Although it rained, it didn't stop our parade! I wanted to show you guys some of the highlights from the day.
I want to give a huge shout out to my amazing husband who stood by me through literally the rain and storm to take these highlights and pictures, he is the real MVP. Also, it was so nice meeting a fellow Chicago blogger, Carlita, who was so amazing to work with. Once again, thanks so much The Mix for allowing me to be apart of your awesome float! I hope you all have a great day and an awesome week!
Until next time,
27 Happy Birthday post
A letter to 17 year old me
This blog post is dedicated to the 17-year-old girl with messy hair, wild dreams, and a hopelessly romantic heart. Look at me now, 27 and so much wiser and older. I want to tell you that life is not always like the fairytales that you read about. There are not always gallant knights on white steads raiding a castle to find their princess. Instead, there are boys with bright eyes, quick tongues, and beautiful smiles that you may get lost in. Instead of a horse, you'll find someone with a beat up old white convertible car that will eventually turn into a Camry. Meaning, life may not be what you always pictured or dreamed about. Remember being 10 and wanting to be a ballerina? That went on for years until you realized that being in front of a camera is way more fun. You spent countless hours dressing up and learning lines until the wee hours of the morning. Acting soon became your passion and you promised yourself that you'd see your name in lights. It may be a shock to you but I am sadly not on billboards and my name is not gleaming in flashing lights.
However, I can say whole-heartedly that you are loved. Loved by family, by wonderful friends, and by someone who sees you for who you truly are.
17 year old me, life may not be what we pictured it would be, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. At 27, I am so in touch with who I believe I am meant to be. They say knowledge comes with age and I have grown so much deeper in my faith in love, God, and in myself.
17 year old me, you will do great things and just because you're not a president or a movie star, doesn't mean you're any less special.
You can change people's lives by letting others know they're special, by creating through a platform you never fathomed possible, or by simply letting someone know they're not alone.
17 year old me, I want to tell you that the acne scars will fade, your hair will eventually behave (a bit better), and you will find that fairytale romance...just in a different type of way. You will grow into your skin and learn that YOU are in fact very special. You can do anything you put your mind to so hold onto that dream and keep striving to never give up.
Today, as I look back on my 27 years on this earth I am so blessed to be where I am now. Cheers to another year older, to you all that make my life special, and to be closer to the person God wants me to become.
Until next time,
birthday hugs and kisses!
Hair's the situation.
Vital Proteins Collagen Water Launch Party
I had so much fun attending the Vital Proteins Collagen Water launch party on Wednesday. Sure, the weather was a total bummer (get it together Chicago) but a bit of rain didn't damper our fun event. The team who put this event together went above and beyond. With spirits low, due to rain, they uplifted everyone in that tent with their pumped up music, colorful decor, and great drinks and hors-d'oeuvres.
I have worked with Vital Proteins before in the past and I loved their collagen peptides. Not only does the flavor taste amazing but it's nice to have something healthy to injust to make your hair strong and healthy. We all know as a blogger I am constantly doing crazy things to my hair. Luckily, I have a great stylist (read about her here) and now these products to get my hair back on the right track.
When I heard about their new collagen water I was so pumped. This stuff tastes amazing! In fact, a lot of their drinks were mixed with their collagen water and lemme tell you it was stellar! Not only is this water infused with 10g of collagen but it is also made with real fruit juice that adds that extra bit of sparkle. They are versatile coming in a bunch of different flavors and I had the luxury to try a couple. Although most of them were pretty amazing, I have to say that my favorite was the OG and the blackberry hibiscus.
As my friend Julie and I fluttered about we got to explore the venue. We, of course, made a beeline to the dessert table which was so colorful and nicely decorated. I am obsessed with macaroons it is my favorite cookie. So Julie and I took our time admiring and trying a bunch of their delicious treats.
I was super excited because whenever you go to these events you always meet such amazing people. That is part of the reason why I get so excited to attend these type of things. I was so excited to meet a friend I had been speaking with on IG. It makes it that much more real when you get to meet these people in real life. It shows that IG is so much more than just a cell phone screen, it's a lifestyle, and the best part is meeting these wonderful people who uplift and encourage you every day!
They also had an amazing fashion show event which was cool. The models did such a great job strutting their stuff down the runway in their colorful attire.
Overall, it was such an amazing time and I was so happy to be invited to this event! I hope to bring you guys more fun events that Chicago has to offer! Hopefully, the weather will get itself together sooner...rather than later. Happy Friday Love bugs! I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
Until next time,
After Grad Guide to Life
That is the one question I asked myself after college, "what is next?" It that uncertainty that is simply terrifying to think about and grasp. Graduating from college can be one of the best moments in your life. I remember watching movies like "Legally Blonde" and admiring Elle Woods for chasing her dream and pursuing her educational career. It's a huge milestone, something that your parents drill into your mind since kindergarten, least mine did.
I remember the pressure of excelling in high-school because it was constantly mentioned, without good grades you won't get into your proper college. As if the world would end if you didn't get into the college of your choice, quite dramatic, but that is how it felt at the time.
When I got accepted at Concordia University Chicago I was so thrilled. It was amazing to be able to check that life goal off my list. I loved being there for the 4 years that I spent there. I learned so much about myself, what I wanted to do, and I met friends that will last a lifetime.
Then I graduated...and it was like okay what now?
What happens when that one thing you prepared for has been completed? That's the grey area that so many people go through because life completely changes once you graduate from college.
I was pretty independent once I graduated. In fact, my parents were like you are on your own, time to spread your wings and fly. Which frankly, can be a scary thing, especially when you haven't mentally prepared for that yet. Luckily, my best friend and I rented an apartment together in the city right after college. I recommend navigating that hard 'after college' faze with someone close to you. It makes things so much easier. We rented a cute little garden unit, ate from cereal boxes, and watched Netflix until our hearts were content.
Some advice I have for you. Remember, your fridge will probably never be stocked the first year that you graduate. I think we only had condiments, wine (barefoot), and lettuce in our fridge for months, and that is okay!
You may not live in your dream home but you can live in your dream location. My best friend and I knew we wanted to live on our own after college. Some people decide to move back home and that too is okay. However, we wanted to take a different route. We knew we wanted to live in the city, without a city budget (we didn't fully have secure jobs) but we took a leap of faith. Garden units are not always the best, but it was a roof over our head and that is all we needed. Sure, we experienced a couple of floods here and there but we always laughed throughout situations. Hence, why I say live with someone you can laugh about life with.
You also may not come out of college with a sure job. Internships are amazing (I worked a couple in college) but sadly none of them lead to any potential jobs. I remember walking down the streets of Belmont with a stack of resumes in my hand and I went door to door handing out my resume. Luckily, I met the most amazing mentor, by walking into her establishment and she offered me a receptionist job a couple of weeks afterward. Now was that job my first choice? Absolutely not. In my mind, I thought I'd graduate and be this huge television anchor. Am I that right now? Also no, but that is life. You have to remember that things may not pan out the way you want them to but that's okay. There's such a misconception that you have to complete an absurd amount of checks off your list to be successful and that is simply not the case. Remember that success can mean so many different things. The ultimate goal is happiness, in what you're doing, where you're at, and the people you surround yourself by.
If you are trying to find jobs places like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Zip Recruiter, will be your best friend. Try to take the time to update you LinkedIn and make sure to make it fun as well. All you experiences is great to have but you never know if someone will hire you strictly due to the charity you're passionate about.
I can honestly say that the moments after couple were some of the best times in my life. They were probably some of the messiest, but they will always have a special place in my heart. A friendly warning, if you do stay out drinking the entire night before work, make sure to drink lots of pedialyte before bed, it cured tons of hangovers for me. These years are the uncertainty faze of your life but that is what makes it so fun. You have the opportunity to explore who you are and what you want to do in life. Now, that 'a ha' moment may not come over night, but as you continue to grow through jobs (and there will be many), friends (they will come and go but the best will remain) and relationships you will start to see the person, your true self, develop. Some of the best advice my father gave me when I graduated was "you will soon discover the real Rachel and who she is through these next couple years." I can fully say that I have learned so much about myself as I grew through the after college faze.
As you navigate through this crazy time in your life remember to breathe, love yourself, and know that life is only beginning to unfold for you. I hope these tips will help you throughout your growing process! Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote on this post! Also thanks to all of you who came and read, you're the real MVP. To all my grads reading these, I raise my glass to you! You should be proud of yourself for completing your years of school. That in itself is something to be proud of.
Love you all love bugs,
until next time