Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?

Alexandra:

It irritates me that people don’t know the real meaning behind this holiday. It irritates me even more when they don’t know the difference between Memorial Day, Labor Day, Armed Forces Day, and Veterans Day. Well, as long as ONE person learns the meaning then I guess I’ve helped make somewhat of a difference…right?

Originally posted on TIME:

It’s easy to forget what Memorial Day actually means while you’re sitting by the pool and looking ahead at summer vacation—but the day signifies much more than just a three-day weekend.

Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the American armed forces. The holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead.

It’s unclear exactly where the holiday originated—Charleston, S.C., Waterloo, N.Y., Columbus, Ga. and other towns all claim to be the birthplace of the holiday. The event in Charleston that may have precipitated the holiday offers poignant evidence of a country struggling to rebuild itself after a bloody war: 257 Union soldiers died in prison in Charleston during the Civil War and were buried in unmarked graves, and the town’s black residents organized a May Day ceremony in which they landscaped a…

View original 123 more words

What I Love about Atlanta

My Blog is officially 2 years old!

Wow,  May of 2013 seems so long ago. When I first started this blog I only thought that I would have it for about a year before I got distracted and starting doing something else, but I’m happy that I stuck with my guns and chose to keep going with it. Just think about it, when I started this I was nervous about moving in with my fiance, Lorenzo, and now we are getting married next week! Wow.

2nd birthday

So with my blog being 2 years old that means that next month will be my 2 year anniversary of actually living in Atlanta. I still feel really “new” here because there is still so much I don’t know. For example, I’ve learned that people give directions by street names as opposed to exit numbers, like we do in Jersey. You want to go to Six Flags? Take Exit 7A off the Turnpike- that’s how we give directions. Here in Atlanta, they may tell you to the the Mableton Exit…or something to that effect. So I have to learn exit names instead of just exit numbers, and no I don’t know the name of the exit where I live.

I’ve enjoyed my time here. Even though I think Lorenzo and I would be able to make the best out of most situations, I really like living here, and here’s why:

It’s very quiet. Working in NY you always hear sirens, honking horns, bullhorns, and just the hustle and bustle of the always crowed Times Square. New Jersey was quieter than New York, but still not a huge improvement.

It’s Clean. Well, most places are. Where I live and work its very clean and well kept. Its rare to see trash on the ground or piled up on the sidewalk.

The food is amazing. While NY/NJ has an outstanding selection of dining experiences, I just think the food here tastes better. I’ve put on 20 lbs. since I’ve moved here, something I’ve never been able to do up north. I also have to take into account that I don’t walk as much as I used to because you have to drive everywhere, but that’s besides the point. I love the food.

Winter is not that bad. And Spring seems to come early. Yay. I’m definitely a summer person, so I love, love, LOVE warmer weather. I know that I teased about the whole, declaring a state of emergency over 2 inches of snow, but I see why they have to do that now. I love that it doesn’t snow that much here. Dealing with 20-something inch blizzards is a nightmare.

There’s still a lot I haven’t done yet. I know that Atlanta is not as big as New Jersey and New York, but let’s be honest, when I was living there I never really took advantage of everything they had to offer. I’d only been to Six Flags once, I’ve been to Atlantic City a few times, and I haven’t gone to see the Statue of Liberty until I was 27. Most New Yorkers have never been there, ever. I’ve done a fair share of touristy things since moving here, but I know there’s still a lot more to do.

I’m not quite done with Atlanta yet. There is still so much more to experience.

8 Simple Ways To Get Unstuck By Venturing Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Alexandra:

I love this.

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

joeestuh joeestuh

I was broke and tired everyday. I was “stuck” at my job and I couldn’t get up in the morning. I’d set my alarm two hours before I had to get up and hit snooze until it was eight o’clock. I’d roll on the floor and just lay there looking at the ceiling.

I was late for work every day. My boss told his boss and they pulled me aside. “You have to start coming in on time. Or we’ll find someone who can.”

I typed into Google “How to get unstuck” and Google finished my sentence for me. It added, “in life.” Number two was “in mud” and number four was “from super glue.” Lots of people are stuck in life.

There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re not a bad person for it. But you end up getting unhappier and unhappier until you start looking for ways to…

View original 1,122 more words

30 Stupid Things We Need To Stop Saying To Women Who Don’t Want Kids

Alexandra:

Yes, yes, and yes some more….

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

courtperkinscourtperkins

1. “Once you’re pregnant, you won’t care so much about all that career stuff. It’s liberating.”

2. “Do I miss the ‘me’ time? Sure. But it’s so much more rewarding to lead a selfless life.”

3. “It’s true, what they say: You have no idea what love is until you lock eyes with your newborn baby for the first time.”

4. “Everything takes on new meaning when you’re responsible for another living creature—it’s like having a puppy, but so much better.”

5. “Have you considered adopting? I feel like it’s totally acceptable to go orphan these days, thanks to Brad and Angie.”

6. “Being a mom/dad to little ________ has taught me so much about life and love. I’m a much better person now.”

7. “Will you at least freeze your eggs? Just in case…”

8. “Parenthood is a sacrifice, but don’t you feel like you owe it to…

View original 322 more words

New Random Thoughts

1. I realized that taking a break from Facebook for Lent actually helped me free up a lot of time. Ever since I put the app back on my phone I find myself checking it randomly throughout the day knowing that there’s not much that would interest me anyway. I think I’ll just stick to using it for remembering the birthday’s of the people who I don’t have in my phone. I’m still going to keep Instagram and Twitter though.

2. Lorenzo and I are going to the courthouse exactly 2 weeks from today. While I’m very excited, a small part of me is very nervous and I don’t know why. I guess a part of me is scared that something will change, even though I’m sure nothing will. I think my nerves are just trying to get the best of me. Maybe its the anticipation. I don’t know.

3. Why do some women feel a need to make it a point to randomly talk about another person’s weight / size? The other day at work, a woman noticed my shirt and said that she had the same shirt. I was about to respond with how I thought she had good taste, but before I could she said noted that her size was a lot larger. Why? Why did she need to mention that? I don’t know what size her shirt is…how am I supposed to respond to that? I don’t know what to say to people when they point out how skinny I am. Am I supposed to say ‘thank you’? I don’t think I should, I know what I look like…I mean…what do you want me do here?

4. One of my military friends is moving to Ashville, NC next month. She will be there around the same time I am getting back from my 2 week event in New York. I am so excited to have one of my friends somewhat nearby. Ashville is about 3 hours away from from Atlanta, but it is better than her being all the way in Maryland.

5. I am happy that I have been able to walk away from my deployment and New Jersey with some good friendships in tact. There are quite a few people that I used to spend a good amount of time with that I no longer speak to or even have their numbers in my phone. When I think about the people that I call my “friends”, I think about all the people whom I’ve never had issues with (or minimal issues) and who have been there for me when I needed them just as much as when I was there for them. Sometimes its very hard to push people out of your life, but when the relationship becomes toxic you just HAVE to let them go and move on. Only when you get rid of all the bad people do you start to make room for the better people. I can honestly say that once I got rid of my toxic “friends” and cut off those mentally draining relationships that I was able to let in people who had better intentions for me; I finally have peace in my life- no drama. There is no way that I’m going back to that, and I’m now extremely careful who I let in my circle.

On Deciding to Change my Name

Its already May, and that means that Lorenzo and I are getting married soon.

Officially. *squeal*

Lorenzo and I are going to get our marriage license after Memorial Day. We set this date 6 months ago and I can’t believe the time is finally coming. I know that a trip to the courthouse is going to be uneventful, but I guess for me its knowing that we will finally be married, I can stop saying “fiance” (such and annoying word), we won’t be “shacking up” anymore, and I can finally change my last name (hallelujah).

Yes, after we are married I’m going to change my last name, as soon as I possibly can, and no I’m not hyphenating. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for years…even before Lorenzo and I met. For a long time, I’ve wanted to change my last name and I used to pray to God that He didn’t send me husband with jacked up last name. Even though I like the way my name sounds, and Lorenzo has a great last name also, they just don’t sound right when they are hyphenated. Kind of reminds me of poop. No, really.

The main reason I want to change it is because I have an extremely common surname; so common that it is one of the top 10 most common last names in the United States. I thought my first name made me unique and would help me stand out, that is until I became an adult and realized there are probably thousands of other women with the same exact name as me and about 50 of them joined the Army around the same time I did- so I get their emails…and I have been…since 2004! Even with my new job here in Atlanta, I get emails and phone calls for other women who have the same exact name as I do. Lorenzo agreed that it sounded annoying.

In every unit I’ve been with in the Army I’ve been 1 of either 2, or 3, and on one occasion 4 people with the same last name. Lorenzo’s last name is somewhere in the upper 700’s on that list so I shouldn’t have to worry about the same issues I have now. Our last names are sort of similar, so I won’t have to change my signature too much and it doesn’t sound weird with my first name. I don’t have to worry about my name going anywhere because I have plenty of males in my family to keep it going (not that they need to) and I don’t own a business or have a “brand” to protect so, trust me, I won’t miss it. Plus, I’ve already ordered my new name tapes for my uniforms.

I spoke to Lorenzo about this and while he said he would be fine with it if I kept my last name, he would also wonder why I would want to (being fully aware of the reasons I’ve listed above). While Lorenzo is very much a modern man, there are some things that he tends to be very traditional about, so me not changing my name to his never crossed his mind until I brought it up. Well, this is one thing he doesn’t have to worry about because I want to change it. When we were going to all those bridal shows last year, I received a gift card for a website called MissnowMrs.com that helps you change almost all of your documents all in one shot, so I plan on taking full advantage of that. I know its going to be a pain…but its a nuisance that I’m actually looking forward to.

The Hair Diary

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but shortly after I moved to Atlanta I decided to stop relaxing my hair. Well…I was told by my new stylist to stop relaxing my hair. Yes, I put up a fight. Yes I lost that fight.

Before I moved, my sister Cassandra (who is also a licensed cosmetologist) was the only person I let touch my hair. I used wear a lot of weaves and wigs- especially in the winter, because it seemed that my hair would just break off and shed excessively between October and February every year. I was nervous about moving here with out her because I didn’t know how I would maintain my hair. My friend Tia recommended her stylist, Curtis, and during my first appointment with him he told me to stop relaxing my hair, stop wearing wigs, and he would help me get my hair healthy again…naturally.

One of my (many) wigs :)
One of my (many) wigs :)

I was apprehensive at first but, I trusted him. Lorenzo was cool with it because he likes my real hair anyway. The last time I’d had a relaxer was April 2013 and I haven’t looked back. Transitioning wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I really don’t do much of anything with my hair in the first place, so I wasn’t putting it through a lot of torture.

After getting it pressed - August 2013
After getting it pressed – August 2013
Curled up- April 2014
Curled up- April 2014

I will say this though: I think I’m the worst natural ever. :) After finding a bunch of blogs and websites designed to help people who want to transition maintain their tresses, I literally followed none of the advice. I don’t put any of the natural oils in my hair (except for the one time I used coconut oil because I ran out of hair pudding), I don’t do any of the beautiful and cool hairstyles that I see in the photos (1. because I’m lazy and 2. because my hair never seems thick enough or long enough to pull it off, or it just. won’t. curl.), and I don’t co-wash. I’m not even sure if I completely understand how that works to be honest. If its been too long since I’ve been to see Curtis, I’ll just wash it myself, put 5 or 6 braids in it to help it “wave” for “crimp”, and keep it moving.

My hair IS growing, however. Slowly but surely it is definitely growing. This is the most I’ve seen it grow without me keeping it hidden under a wig for months on end. There were a few months were I was using Hairfinity to help with the growth as well. I liked the product and noticed that my hair does grow faster when I’m taking it versus when I’m not, I just need to be more consistent with taking them.

Pressed again -2015
Pressed again -2015
After braiding- 2015
After braiding- 2015

I don’t have a goal length that I’m trying to reach, I just wanted my hair to be healthy. The heat in the Iraqi desert damaged my hair pretty badly (it was past my shoulder before I left and at the nape of my neck by the time I came home, and very damaged and uneven) because I didn’t know how to maintain it that extremely hot and dry environment.

I used do think that my hair just didn’t grow, or couldn’t grow long but these past 2 years have proved me wrong. I am excited about this journey and I can’t wait to see how long I can my hair to grow.

Maybe I’ll style it one day…. maybe.