Monday, November 30, 2015

30 Goals in 30 Days: Updates and More

Read about my Challenge here first if you haven't: 30 Goals in 30 Days!

So 30 days has passed and my Challenge is all over. If I had to rate myself, I would give myself a solid B+. I will be the first to admit that this Challenge wasn't perfect, but it was perfect for me. It started off really strong with me actually completing 2 to 3 goals a day for the first 10 days or so...but then life happened and that required me to refocus my attention elsewhere for a few days. After a week of helping everyone around me, I went back to focus on myself and finishing up my goals. The good thing about this challenge is that I was able to take a pause from it to help my friends because it had been so successful at the start. I know I would have driven myself crazy trying to be a good friend, a good worker, and other things...(I'm being a secret squirrel but for the next 4 months, I have to be careful of what I say or write but send up some prayers or positive vibes for me!). I was able to successfully complete 30 goals but I'm sure 2 or 3 of them were just something to do ("Spend A Day Not Working!!") 

Anyway since I'm at the end I want to give a list of my Dos and Don'ts and Other Tips for anyone who wants to embark on this Challenge for themselves. 

  • Do buy yourself a nice notebook or journal. I find that writing things down makes it more real to me. It kind of forces me to actually do what I "say" because written things seem more permanent. I recommend these notebooks: EcoJot Journals. I'm particularly a fan of this one: Don't Give Up Journal. However, if you are so into your tech world you can't write things down, Day One app is good also.
  • Do use the first page to write down your purpose. If the goal is to find a new job, then on page one write down the job you want, the salary, the location, the benefits...everything you want for yourself. This can be for any category. You want to redecorate? Write down the items you want, what kind of decor you are feeling, everything. The first page should be what you want the end result to be. Simple enough.
  • Do use each page as one day. The next page should be Day 1. On Day 1, I will...(fill in the blank). Beneath the top line of the goal, you can write all of your notes. Sometimes we start a goal and realize we need something else. For instance mine was "write an essay." Once I wrote the essay, I decided to go ahead and send it to my friend for revisions. I made a note on that page "Sent to A on date. Check in with A on this date if no response." Things like that. 
  •  Don't get down on yourself if you don't complete a goal. I cannot stress this enough but if you can't complete a goal that day it's okay. It's okay to not be perfect and it's okay to have set backs. Use that setback to refocus or reorganize your goal so the next day will be (more) successful. 
  •  Do celebrate the small victories. Who cares if your only goal was to "get out of bed." Did you get out of bed? YES? You win!!!! Reward yourself! I promised myself a treat for every 10 goals. 
  • Do practice self care. Life is so stressful especially when you are trying to change your life for the better. I specifically broke up my goals into smaller attainable goals so I would not stress myself out but sometimes we will see a guideline and start second guessing ourselves. Schedule a day for YOU and let that be your GOAL. 
  • Don't do negative goals. I really dislike negative goals. Negative goals are also restrictive because you are trying to NOT do something you enjoy. The focus should be on the positive outcome of the goal. "Stop Spending So Much Money" can easily become "Learn to budget and manage my money better." (Sidenote: I managed to raise my credit score 100 points in a year's time. I can blog on that if anyone is interested)
  • Do breathe! What's meant for you will come to you. If it misses you, it wasn't for you. While I am not one to totally believe your life is predestined, I do think that things and people come into your life for a reason, to help you on your path to what you are destined to's up to you to recognize your destiny, to accept it, and which path you will follow. 
The reason I shared this personal challenge is because I know it's hard for a lot of people to get going. Myself included. I swear I have ADD or ADHD. It's hard to focus, I procrastinate, I make excuses...but I do want to be a better person so I worked hard over the last year trying to find a plan that worked best for me to accomplish my goals. I think everyone should work at finding their best method for success. Maybe my method will help, maybe it won't but it sparks something else in you, or maybe it's not for you at all and you will never listen to me again. And if the last part is true, the positive is that you tried. Without trying how will you ever know how great you can be?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

30 Days. 30 Goals: My Challenge To Myself

Earlier this year I decided to get my life together "for real this time." I don't know about anyone else but I find myself saying this every year, every month, every week. I'm always saying "Tomorrow, I'm going to start being great." And sometimes I do start, and then I fall off. I had to get more organized. So when Myleik of Curlbox created a journal and podcast outlining how she gets things accomplished, I thought "this is perfect, I can do it." And it was a great plan. I bought the journal, read all of her methods, and listened to the blog. It seemed simple enough...every day you write down everything that needs to be done (color coding based on importance or time), and when you complete a goal you highlight it. Seeing a whole page full of highlighted items is suppose to encourage you and fill you with a sense of accomplishment. If there were any tasks you didn't complete, you moved them over to the next day. GREAT. I can do this. But then I couldn't. I started and I would pick and choose which tasks I would do. I found myself carrying over certain tasks day after day. It never bothered me to write down tasks over and over again because I stopped doing it every day. I wrote a list and I could remember everything so no I don't need to do this every day. I realized a month ago, as I was writing a poem in the journal, that this method didn't work for me. I didn't feel accomplished, I felt like it was WORK. I used my journal to write poems and ideas, to write down quotes, to draw pictures...everything BUT getting organized. Why wasn't this working for me? 

Then I saw a post that said "Finish ONE thing. That's all you have to do." Sunday, I looked at my life and realized I had two main goals that I needed to finish. Both of which could change the trajectory of my life next year. Both things I have wanted since I moved to NYC. I wrote down everything I needed to do and got overwhelmed. This is why it wasn't working for me. There was too much to do. I had 100 things I needed to complete. My mind jumped back and forth between tasks. But then I heard a voice in my head say "Just finish ONE thing." So I decided, for the next month, every day I will choose one task from that list and devote my day to that ONE task. Nothing else. I wouldn't even think of other things I needed to do. 

So I picked one thing, and I wrote it down. Monday will be devoted to writing an LOR. The 99 other tasks didn't matter. I only had to finish this one on Monday. And I did. Then something amazing happened: I forwarded the LOR to the person who needed it (getting a second task done) and she uploaded it to the proper source (getting a third tasks done). Finishing ONE thing removed THREE things off of my lists. I felt so good. That task was gone.

Tuesday came and I selected another tasks: write the essay for the scholarship. 250 words. I could do this! On my train ride to work I started working on it. On my train ride home I reviewed what I wrote. When I got home, it was completed! I put a tasks on my calendar to remind myself to re-read the essay a week before the due date. Another task completed! These two items have been on my list for over a month and in two days, I knocked 4 things off my life! Having completed that essay I started looking for more grant funding to apply to later this month (a 5th task). I was on a roll!

Today is Wednesday. My task today is to finish a journal article. The article is completed, I just have to re-read and revise it. Once it's completed, I will forward it to my friend so he can review it. Then I can submit the article. 

I know it's only been three days but I have completed 6 goals by just focusing on ONE goal a day. So for anyone who is like me and has ADD and feels overwhelmed at times: Just pick ONE thing. Finish that ONE thing today. I personally decided that all of my tasks have to be aimed at the bigger goal of making me a better person (meaning "washing my clothes" could not be a goal). To avoid being distracted I started my list on a new sheet in my journal. Each day I add to that list the one goal for that day, and I look at that goal throughout the day until it's completed. I personally can't look at a list of 100 things anymore  because I want to do them all! But a list with ONE thing (I know, one item isn't really a list), it makes me feel like "This is all I have to do? Just this? I can do this!!". 

This method does require anyone on a schedule to be aware of their timeline. It also requires discipline because it forces you to focus on only one thing at a time. If you complete that task, you can move on to another one but it's not required. However, I have found that completing one tasks did give me the motivation to work on another. 

If you try this method out let me know how it works for you. At the end of the 30 days I will definitely update everyone (and show my list off!!).  Remember: Do Better! is STILL the movement. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

AHS: Hotel or "Why I Don't Like To See Rape On TV"

So last night AHS returned with it's 5th season and this time it's set in a hotel. The Hotel Cortaz to be exact (Fictional hotel in LA, the same place where Season 1's story took place). When I first learned it would be in a hotel setting I was ecstatic. I kept thinking of all the legendary haunted hotels, and one in particular, The Cecil Hotel, stood out in my mind. I thought THAT would be the best template for this season. But I'm not a writer, so that is totally not the story we got. (Sidenote, SPOILERS will be in this blog). I actually didn't know what to expect from this season, so when I finally saw Episode 1, I was dumbfounded to say the least.

AHS: Hotel is about a hotel with horrible secret. The secret? People are being killed there in various crazy ways. The owner is a vampire with a bunch of little blond hair vampire kids she kidnapped over the years. A vampire? Yes, a vampire. Now let me say this...I'm ALL about vampires and I'm all about horror. But a vampire owning a hotel...a bit cliched but what else could happen?  EVERYTHING could happen and EVERYTHING did happen last night. Early in the episode, this season showed on of the most disturbing 3 minute scenes I have ever witnessed. A male drug addict getting his fix is confronted by a latex wearing man with a metal penis and raped for about 3 minutes. While he's being raped he's crying and a woman is talking to him telling him if he says I love you, it will stop. All the while, you can still see this man literally fucking the hell out of dude in the mirror that's behind her.  It wasn't overly graphic but it was excessive and unnecessary to me. It lasted two minutes too long. Let me explain.

First off I'm am NOT a trigger sensitive person. I have never been raped or abused, so this is not about that at all. Second, I'm a horror fan. I love scary movies, but I'm not a fan of slasher/horror porn (excessive use of blood & murder with no storyline). Third, it's not just about rape, I'm not a fan of the use of sex scenes as filler. That's basically what happened here. A rape scene lasting an excessive amount of time and not adding any substance to the story. It's rare for me to see any rape or sex scene in any movie or tv show and think "That really adds something of value to this." No, most of the time it's for shock value or just gratuitous and inserted for "entertainment." I GET IT. However, I watch horror shows to see horror. I watch dramatic shows for drama. I watch porn for sex. I am not trying to watch 4 or 5 sex scenes in a horror show that lasts 90 minutes with commercials. It's a turn off to the show if it doesn't add substance. This is why I stopped watching "True Blood." I just couldn't understand why each episode needed 5 sex scenes. Like I get it, they like to fuck...but they are vampires so go kill people.

It was disturbing. It was unsettling. That was Murphy's point. However in proving his point, he turned off a lot of people who tweeted about that particular scene non-stop. Many people put "trigger warning" in their tweets to warn others who hadn't watched the show yet. However, this is not the first rape scene in AHS. The first rape of a man but not the first one, which leads me to wonder why rape is necessary element in this series? In every season of AHS, a rape as occurred, and this is the second time I felt that it was used for shock value.  Maybe in a few weeks it will make sense? However, the length of time the rape occurred? All for shock value. "It's provocative, it gets people thinking..." and it did make me think...and question why sex and rape is used unnecessarily? In the long run, the rape was a distraction from the story at hand. The scene happened 20 minutes into a 90 minute show and literally overshadowed anything else that happened (except the foursome scene, which was a few minutes too long too but held some relevance since that was the point where we find out Gaga and her lover are vampires). The guy doesn't even die after being raped. Murphy has stated that the rape is a metaphor for addiction. I can see what he's getting at but no. His explanation reminds me of the director of the Serbian Movie's explanation for its' use of sex and rapes. A metaphor? Metaphor's only work if people can make the connection between the two otherwise all people see is a man getting raped by a demon.

However, I digress...I did enjoy the aspects of the series OUTSIDE of the hotel. The story of Det. John Lowe  and his search for a serial killer are is way more interesting to me than the vampire aspect. But of course, the episode ends with the Detective moving into the hotel after the killer told him about the hotel and he saw his kidnapped son in the hotel (SO MUCH IS GOING ON!!!). I just hope Murphy doesn't decide to rape more people unnecessarily for minutes at a time for the remainder of the season.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Prose: Out Loud a.k.a. "5"

I lived my love out loud

Wore his name across my heart like a badge of honor

His sweat lingered on my skin and became my favorite perfume

The touch of his hands left imprints of his lust that danced from my hair to my toes.

I wore him all over. I savored him.

Held him tight in my arms and from my lips flowed the sweetest song known to man.

Out Loud.
And then Louder.
Bolder. Stronger. Faster. 
Until there was nothing left.

And when he left, 
The taste of his sweat,
The touch of his hand,
The smell of his love,
The sound of his voice,
and the look in his eyes remained.
Quietly haunting me in my dreams.

Written: 8.20.2015. 

Photo by: Peter Schafer ( 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Liar, Liar...

I have a friend who I believe is a pathological liar. The MAIN purpose of me writing this blog is the hopes that this person sees this blog and recognizes its about them, and decides to do something about their life. This is not about me, because these lies do not personally affect me but they do affect our friendship and our interactions. Let me explain...

When I first met TJ* (not their initials or related to their name but this allows for anonymity)  I thought they were the bees knees! TJ lived an awesome life, knew awesome people, and had a great wealth of knowledge. I immediately became taken with this person and wanted them in my life. So we became friends and I loved hearing their fanciful tales of places and people. There were times I'd say to myself "this seems unbelievable" but never far-fetched. I am sure some of the stories I tell seem implausible, so I would dismiss any notions I'd have about their life wasn't my life and just because I can't doesn't mean they can't. TJ became a good friend.

As years went on I started realizing that TJ had a lying problem. I started recognizing lies TJ was telling to me and others. Sometimes on Twitter, I'd see them tweeting about certain things and I'd say to myself "That's not right..." and it'd be silly stuff. Like "What are you doing tonight?" TJ would say "About to go to this spot, get some more drinks, party blah blah..." when they would be at home about to go to bed. These petty lies meant nothing at the time because we all lie right? We lie for various look good, to protect ourselves, to protect our friends, to get over.

NOTE: I think lying to protect someone's feelings is bullshit. You are NOT protecting anyone's feelings, you are protecting your own livelihood. If  you cared about a person's feelings, you would STOP with the actions hurting that person OR you'd leave that person alone because you aren't the friend that person needs. How simple is that? But I digress...

I didn't care. If TJ wanted to be a liar all of their life then fine. Not my issue. But one day I caught them in a flat out lie. I later hit them up like "Why did you lie about this?" (The lie involved me so yes I'm asking). They spun such a tale that I begin to believe that I was the one tripping. Okay TJ didn't lie. It wasn't like THAT. Fine. But as years went on, I noticed it more and more. TJ lied about 70% of the time. It wasn't hurtful lies, or serious lies. But they were lies. And now I'm thinking...TJ can't help lying. Lying has become such a part of this person's every day life that they lie about the most mundane things without forethought.

You: "TJ did you read that book?"
TJ:  "Yeah."
You: "What did you think?"
TJ: "Ahh it was ok. But (general thing on author)."
You: "Well ok. But what did you think about this part?"
TJ: "It was ok."

Now you could say "TJ just wasn't interested in talking about the book." However, if you bring up a book TJ did read, they will carry on a full convo about the book even if they hated it. Okay so why are you lying about reading this book TJ? Finally I said to TJ. "You are a liar, and I don't trust a lot of what you say." TJ looked stupid. TJ made up an excuse. TJ denied it all. The wild part about all this is...the things you THINK TJ is lying about are true. It's the petty nonsensical stuff that TJ lies about that makes this all so crazy.TJ has a problem.

Most recently TJ lied to me about their ex. They said their ex was doing xyz. So when I saw their ex on the street I said to them "Oh I heard about xyz. Congrats!" The ex goes "What?" I repeat that I heard whatever good news it was and they go "no...who told you that..." and I almost say "TJ." but then I stop and go "wait wait...i confused you with (other person with same name). i think they are doing that fault." Because had I said TJ I believe this person may have ranted. Days later when I spoke to TJ, I wanted to bring up the info on their ex but then I stopped myself. TJ will lie again and make up some excuse. Or my fav is "I never said that, what I said was..." Exposing TJ's lies doesn't bring about change, it just brings about more lies to cover up the initial lies.

This past weekend I spoke to TJ. They asked me what I did and I lied. I lied because I didn't want to engage this person, because I felt they didn't deserve to know my life if they kept lying to me and everyone else about theirs. I lied because I was upset. I lied because that seems to be TJ's preferred method of communication. I lied and I can admit it.

TJ can you admit to your lies? Not for me, because it's not about me. I will be your friend regardless, but what I cannot and will not do is to continue to entertain your antics. I tried pointing out blatant lies. I tried pointing it out low key. I tried being high key about it. I said specifically to you "You are a liar." Now I'm typing it in my blog so that the message won't be lost upon you. You are lying to people who love you for no reason. I have no clue as to who you are trying to impress. It can't be me. I don't know why lying is your go to mechanism. Lying doesn't show strength. It shows weakness. Weakness in recognizing the truth and accepting it. Because if you really accepted truth and reality, this facade you created would crumble. But sometimes things need to be destroyed in order to be rebuilt into something better.

TJ you are an amazing person, but you are a liar. I want you to break this cycle because only in truth will you be free and only in truth will you become the person you are trying to be.

But a quick question to my would you (or how do you) deal with a person who you consider a good friend who is always lying to you?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

True Life: The reality of Dating a "Celebrity"

Every time I log onto Facebook, Twitter, or one of my favorite message boards, I see the same thing time and time again. Women lusting after a celebrity wanting to bed him or even date him...and I get it, we all want that person everyone wants. These people are celebrities for a reason and most of them are good looking, charismatic, and smart. What most of these women don't get it: It takes a special
kind of woman to date a "famous" person or even a person in the industry period. It's not easy so I decided to offer the reality of it all. Now if it's your plan to just sleep with a celeb, that's easy. With twitter and IG and VIP all access passes, there's no reason a put together woman in a nice outfit with her edges laid can't hook up with someone randomly for a night. (Note: Easy is a relative term. Meeting the celeb is the easy part; having sex is the part that requires work. But honestly unless he's married, just shoot your shot.) However dating? That's something completely different...

1. Ain't no 9 to 5 bih: They do NOT work the same schedule "regular" people work, which means a call at 2 am ain't always a booty call. It could be  "I just got out of the studio/off set and I have some time, can I see you?" call. This will happen often. You will rarely be on the same schedule and when you are, cherish those days. A lot of the time you will get off at 5/6 and if they work in music, they are about to go to the studio because apparently studios don't get popping until 9 or 10 pm.

2. The Studio/Set is Boring: If you are over 25, the appeal of being on set or in the studio while your bae works quickly wears off after a month or so. It's always fun at first. You get to tweet cute things like "I love watching him work" "Bae is a beast in the studio" but I swear two months later when he asks if you want to go to the studio or the set, you will only say yes for two reasons: 1. to make sure there aren't any groupies around or 2. someone else you really want to meet will be there. THE STUDIO IS BORING!! Being on set is sometimes fun until you realize they are shooting that alley scene once again.

3. That song everyone loves? You are going to hate.: Just to piggy back off #2, the studio is boring and redundant! Rarely is a track made one day and released the next, so what usually happens is you will hear the same song played over and over and over while they get it perfect. When the song finally makes it to the radio (if it makes it to the radio), you will know all the lyrics, the ad libs, the slight mistakes that they left it, the chords, the drums...all of it. And unless that song is about you, chances are you are already going to be tired of it. But you just smile and say "that's my boo!"

4. "My phone was off" is often true: There is nothing worse than recording a perfect take in the studio or on set, just to have someone's phone start ringing or buzzing and fuck up the recording. Now this is also the perfect lie to use when you are cheating but at the same time, it's a fact. Your non-stop texts and calls are messing up the session. Remember in "Life" when Eddie Murphy's phone rang and he answered it and everyone laughed!! LOL. Funny right? In real life, the money for those sessions and movies comes out of someone's pocket, so that person ain't laughing.

5. "(Blank) is in town! I gotta go.":  Plans get ruined quickly when someone your boo wants to work with comes into town. He might not even take a shower, he will just pull on clothes and GHOST! Mentally you have to be prepared and know that you can't whine or complain unless it's your birthday or a holiday. And then if it's someone like Beyonce or Jay Z, then you just have to try to convince them that you know how to act and you have "ideas" too.

6.  "I can't tell you": "What are you working on? Who are you working with?" "I can't tell you." You can take this personal but be honest, if he tells you he's working on the new Denzel movie and it's a secret, chances are you won't tell everyone but you might tell your girl. Who might tell her girl. Who might tell her girl. And so when it's a real secret, he probably won't tell you until the time is right. So patience is a virtue.

7. "Groupies": Depending on the level of celebrity, groupies are always going to be around. The thing is...there is no competition. Sure, some of them are BAD BITCHES!! But for the most part, most of them are trash and average as hell (with all due respect to the groupies reading this blog).  If he (or she) chose you as the one, you're the one. If you are the jealous type, then this isn't for you or you have to learn to check your jealousy. But they will always be around and they don't care if that's your boyfriend, that song or the role he played spoke to THEM and they want that experience.

Take everything above into consideration and ask yourself: is that the relationship I want? Can I deal with this? Or do I need a different type of relationship? But if you are in it for the fame, the money, and the cars, then disregard the above and just go to your local IG boutique and make sure you keep a buddy pass on deck.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Transition...

Initially I wanted to write this blog about procrastination...but I couldn't get it together. Then when I finally sat down to do it, I realize I wrote one on the same topic on 12/26/09. It's right here: Procrastination is a Mutha!. Of course, I go back to read that blog and it's about me trying to write an essay for a grant. I did NOT get that grant in 2009. I got that grant this year. In 2015. Think about took me damn near 5 years to write what I needed to write to get that money. I believe I did finish and submit it in 2010, but I didn't get it. Last year, I saw some summer classes I wanted to take at Columbia U and said "Wait, I know where I can get the money." Less than a week later, I had done everything necessary. A few months later, they call me and say they were really impressed with my essay and LOR (which I wrote for one of my supervisor's because that's how things are done) she's gushing I'm like man...maybe this writing thing is for me.

But I digress.  This is about transition.

Lately everyone around me has been in a transitional phase. Leaving jobs, homes, friends, whatever, and starting new. In the past few months around 5 ppl have left my job. Three of them went to totally different careers and I'm proud of them. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I was jealous. Well, I don't know if  jealous is the word.

What's the word for when you wish you could do something to but you aren't 100% sure what that thing is you want to do but you know that you want to do something else and you want to be great at and you think MAYBE it's this one thing or maybe it's that one thing so essentially you can't go anywhere because you don't know what to do?

That feeling? Do you know it? What's that called? Help me define the space I am in.

I jot down things I

I love writing.
I love public health.
I love working with kids.
I like teaching but would never do it all day, everyday.
I want to be able to work from home sometimes.
I want a PhD.
I love tweeting. Can I get paid for this?!?! (Seriously...if I could get paid to tweet!!!!)
I want to travel more.
I love money not being an issue.

And that's the biggest thing...when you get to the point in your life where you aren't living check to check, you kind of settle into that because that's comfortable. Is life about being comfortable? A lot of people will say it's about being happy...but comfort is happy sometimes right?

I don't know where I'm going. But I will say this...a few years ago one of my friends told me that I had to spend at least 3 years in NYC to get the real experience of living in the city. He was right. And now it's almost 5 years later (well October, I will have lived here 5 years. How the hell did time fly?). I now realize that what I thought I came here for it not why I'm really here...I saw I came here for more opportunities but really...I was tired of being who I was in Baltimore. And while I'm still not the person I want to be, I know I'm finally on the path of who I was meant to be.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bucket List Item #9: Spend My *Birthday* in Hawaii

Okay I'll be honest, my initial bucket list item said to spend NYE in Hawaii...I modified it last year when I decided to go to Oahu last year (Jan 2014) to climb the Haiku Stairs. If you don't know about the Haiku Stairs (or the Stairway to Heaven), please see here: Yelp Review: Haiku Stairs. And technically my birthday is a New Year I will claim it.

So I booked a direct flight on Hawaiian Airlines (via Priceline-always check Priceline first) and lucky for me I had enough air miles for a free return flight on American Airline. I booked an ocean view king room at Hyatt Place Waikiki for a reasonable price. Note...a lot ppl say Hawaii is expensive but I spent just about the same amount booking this trip as I did going to Essence last year, so I can't even call it. I chose to spend 5 days/4 nights in Oahu and it was amazing. How I spent my first trip to Hawaii is below:

Thursday: I arrived around 4 pm and took a shuttle to the hotel ($30 roundtrip, very reasonable). My girls weren't coming until after 11 pm so I had plenty of time to myself. During this time I walked up and down the board walk, had garlic shrimp (that was $6.50), and went shopping where I bought a silk dress that I do not need for anything ever in life. But it's cute so it's okay. I walked along the beach and enjoyed the light rain...then I took a nap. Once my friends arrived, we went to a restaurant and chilled on the beach until about 330 am or so.

Friday: We looked into our options and decided to go on a tour on Saturday...which left today for whatever. We went to the zoo and it was cool but not worth $14. Do NOT go to the zoo. There is nothing special at the zoo. I can't stress this enough. Then, we got garlic shrimp. Again. From the same place. It was $7.00 this time. Then we went shopping because guess who didn't try on their bikini top before they got to Hawaii?!?! We shopped for a while and then jet lag caught up with us but we still managed to go out to eat then go to bed since we had to be up at 6 the next day.

Saturday: The ultimate EcoTour! I loved opting to go on the all day tour because we got to see a lot of the North Shore and side of the island. We went to several beaches, got to eat amazing pineapple ice cream, drink macadamia nut coffee, and swim at a waterfall. Lunch was included, which we ate at a ranch before we almost died at Sunset Beach. Just a note...when the signs at the beach say "Warning/Dangerous" please TRUST that it means that because Brandi and I almost died. I literally looked at the wave and said "this is the biggest wave I ever saw" and then proceeded to try to take a picture of it and instead got washed by this wave and almost dragged out to die. But God blessed me. (The pic to your left is the Byodo-In Temple, the second highlight of the tour for far as sites go because we all know the pineapple ice cream was highlights 1-10 for me).

Sunday: My birthday. I'm old. We laid out on the beach and I got a killer tan. Ate more garlic shrimp. I think. Then we went to a luau at Paradise Cove and it was fantastic. Finally...authentic roasted in the ground with hot rocks pig. When I tell you the pork was the best thing I ever ate...(as far as pork goes)...I mean it. If you go, try it before you add the sauce. For some reason, people love to add the sauce before they taste the meat but the pork is like a good steak. If it's done correctly, no sauce is necessary.  I also tried poi, which basically tastes like glue. It wasn't bad and if you liked glue as a child, you'd love it now. It was just different. But the food and drinks and dancers (male and female) were great. When we got back we were tired. It was late (my body thought it was 2 am) and I was tipsy because the drinks were so good.

Monday: Last day. Really didn't do much. Ate breakfast, tried to get my ear pierced (failed...but I will get it done now that I'm home), and did some light weight shopping. I left around 5 pm to go back to NYC. I also returned my lei back to the island.

All in all, I think I spent the perfect amount of time in Oahu. I wasn't able to do the hike I wanted to do because one of the people who was suppose to attend this trip wasn't able to make it at the last minute. That lowkey sucked because this person had completed the hike before and I was not confident with it being just me and one other person, so we substituted that hike for the hike to the waterfall. Also shout out to Keith of Paradise Cove! He gave me a cd full of authentic Hawaiian music and I have no clue what they are singing about but I still love it.

Also shout out to Pam, Thembi, and Brandi for coming out and spending my birthday in Hawaii. I appreciate it more than you know (also thank you Pam for the Sephora gift card that I used to buy all the things I didn't need).

I tried to add pics not on my IG here...Oahu is beautiful! You can see those pics here (@steph_bmore) I can't wait to go back and visit the other islands and yes, I plan to go back and do the Haiku Stairs but this time I won't depend on someone else to help me...I will train on my own so I can do it on my own. Also note...I didn't edit any of these pictures, they are still raw because I'm lazy.

Next year...I'm thinking of spending my birthday in Cuba...Havana is also very beautiful.