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A Weekend in Clearwater Beach, Florida

A quick trip to the sunshine state.

I’m very fortunate I get to travel as often as I do. I hold the state of Florida very close to my heart. So when Philip (my beau) asked me to accompany him to a weekend trip to the sunshine state, naturally I said yes. Fun fact: I used to live in Lakeland, Florida in the first grade. My family and I only lived there for the duration of one year. My dad’s side of the family lives there so every summer I would go down and stay with them. They always spoiled my sister and I so it was extra fun spending my childhood summers with them.

Fast forward to present day: I need you all to understand the spontaneity of this trip. Phil really just asked me on a Monday if I’d be up to go to Florida on Thursday and I said yes with no hesitation. Who in their right mind turns down a random vacation?! Not this girl. Only missed two days of class.. Don’t tell my professors.

We arrived at Newark airport at 7 a.m. for our 9 a.m. flight. Everything was smooth sailing from that point or should I say smooth flying? Ba dum chhh. The whole weekend it was sunny in the low 90s. No complaints from me. Our first day there I was introduced to Philip’s family that lives outside of Tampa. They were super sweet.

The next two days were spent being beech bums. The water was a little colder than what I’m used to for a Florida beach but still how could I complain? Sidebar, SPF 30 doesn’t really do anyone justice in the F.L. sun. Phil and I explored the bar scene of Clearwater Beach and hopped around to places like Crabby’s and Shepard’s. After a few more spots we got tired of being around other people so we grabbed our drinks, blankets, camera, and took it to the beach. Trust me the beach is way cooler at night when there are no people around but I wouldn’t advise you to get in the water.

On our second to last day we spent the day at weeki wachee springs canoeing. I sat in the middle so I didn’t have to participate in any rowing (lucky me). This was my second time there, the first time around I kayaked by myself. I enjoyed this time in particular because I saw manatees! IN REAL LIFE. They’re huge and beautiful like cows of the ocean. We actually saw about five in total (lucky us). I definitely advise you to take a trip there! The water is the perfect temperature that gives you a refreshed feeling afterwards.

It was a weekend for the books or blog in my case. I’m going to stop with the corny jokes I promise. Seriously, Florida continues to amaze me with all it’s beauty and I can’t wait to be back. Here are some photos from our trip:

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Last Night at the Met

When you have someone that agrees to go to the Metropolitan Opera with you I advise that you keep them! Two nights ago I got all dolled up or in other words I put on the nicest dress I own with a good pair of heels and made my way to Lincoln Center with my handsome date.

Going to the opera is definitely an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. My experience was a rather funny one and here’s why:

First and foremost I have to give a general warning to everyone reading. WARNING: Do not and I repeat DO NOT drink a full bottle of water and then a glass of rosé before the performance. To my demise I did both these things and not even ten minutes into the program my bladder was fighting against me. Ladies and gentlemen keep in mind this was my first opera so I was unaware of all the rules you need to abide by. I get up from my seat and leave my coat, wallet, and phone with my date. Trust me if I could have held it in I would have but my bladder plays zero games. Upon exiting the house the usher asks me if I was leaving. I told her I was only going to the restroom and I would be right back. She then tells me she doesn’t know when the next break is for her to let me back in. This puzzled me a little but my urge to pee was too strong so I said it was fine and made my way to the restroom. Once the deed was done I made my way back to the door I exited from and realized there were no handles on it. No way back in. I thought to myself ‘Okay the next break has to be in ten minutes or so’, wrong. I soon found out the intermission was not for another 40 minutes. Not only did I not have a phone to contact Philip (my date) and tell him what had happened but I didn’t even have money to buy a drink!

I feel like things of this nature happen so often in my life that at this point all I do is laugh. I was locked out for the whole 40 minutes and decided to watch the program from the Orchestra floor. On this floor there was a room designated for people like me who were late or locked out too. When intermission finally rolled around I traveled back upstairs and saw a distressed Philip waiting for me. I explained what happened to me and we both laughed it off. After intermission was over we watched the second act of Rigoletto and then left during the next intermission for our dinner reservations. All things considered, it was a fun experience the entire cast was very talented and I feel lucky to have been apart of it. The opera is definitely a good excuse to dress up fancy.

Here are some pictures I took, the Metropolitan Opera House is nothing short of exquisite.

 

Where to Eat This Weekend: Beechwood Cafe

My love for food grows by the day so I know good cuisine when I taste it. Sitting at the corner of Grove and Mercer in downtown Jersey City, you will find Beechwood Cafe. As soon as you walk through the door the staff is very welcoming with warm smiles and offering service.  Warning: this place gets PACKED for brunch.

The first time I went to Beechwood was about two years ago. It was the beginning of the ‘I Spend All My Money on Food’ chapter of my life. The first time around I ordered the  Beechwood waffle for $9 (I highly recommend this dish). The waffle comes with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, walnuts, and syrup. I always get the berry compote for an extra $2 to give it the cherry on top feel. This is my favorite dish at the cafe so it’s safe to say we know what I ordered the next 6 times I found myself there.

Recently, I’ve decided to be a little more spontaneous and switch up my ordering habits. I tried their bowl of chili and I swear that is what love tastes like. They pack so much flavor in one little bowl. I order tortilla chips on the side as a chip n’ dip situation.

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bowl of chili

I could write about this place all day but that would only get your mouth watering. Wipe up the drool and take a trip for yourself. The atmosphere of the cafe is very trendy and just waiting to be snapped and posted on Instagram. They are located at 290 Grove Street, Jersey City! If my words can’t convince you maybe these photos might help.

WORD on the Street

Check out this profile I wrote on WORD bookstore!

The Dirt on Jersey City

Word Courtesy: WORD Jersey City

By Briana Benitez, Class of 2017

WORD on the street is there’s a popular bookstore that sits on Newark Avenue in downtown Jersey City. The name of this particular place happens to be WORD, which makes it a literal WORD on the street.

The bookstore in independently owned with two locations: one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and the other in Jersey City.

“I’ve been working here for about nine months now.  It’s better than any job I’ve ever had,” states WORD employee Melody Osorio.

WORD has been open since March of 2007 in Brooklyn and December of 2013 in Jersey City. The Jersey City location is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Their main goal is to provide a welcoming space for the community.

For more information, watch here:

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This Week’s Binge: 13 Reasons Why

When I was in high school I read a book titled, “Th1rteen R3asons Why” written by Jay Asher. From as far back as I can remember I’ve always had my head stuck in a book. Reading for me provides an escape from reality it allows me to dive right into the setting of a novel and become apart of the world of words. I’ve always pretended to be a fly on the wall or an additional character in whatever I am reading. I’m always a little taken back when individuals discourage reading. I get it though, we all have difference cups of tea!

Even now at 21 years old Asher’s novel still remains on my list of favorites. I was a bit skeptical when hearing of Netflix’s adaptation of the book, “13 Reasons Why”. Central to both the novel and Netflix series is that Clay Jensen receives a set of 13 tapes two weeks after classmate and secret crush, Hannah Baker, commits suicide. Each of the tapes tells the one reason (and person) responsible for her suicide. Clay must listen to all the tapes to find out why he is one of the reasons Hannah killed herself.

While no movie or series could ever capture the true essence of a book, I do enjoy watching Netflix’s adaptation. There are notable differences between the novel and the series. Let’s see if you can pick up on them!  It’s always entertaining to see something that was once words come to life on screen.

I’m currently on episode eight of the series with just five more episodes left. Hopefully creator Brian Yorkey and executive producer Selena Gomez do not disappoint in the final stretch of the series.

(The series has a total of 13 episodes that run at one hour each. A half day of binging!)

Read it. Watch it. Let me know how YOU feel.

It’s OK Not to Have Life Figured Out Yet

Dear Youth,

If I have one more person ask me “What are you doing after you graduate?” I think I might reply with: What are YOU doing after I graduate????

I currently work three part-time jobs on top of going to school full time. It’s safe to say I am a busy bee. My life right now is work and school. This is going to be a mini rant here so bear with me.

Everyone and I mean everyone in this entire world works at their own pace. I’m not saying that I don’t have any plans after I graduate but is it completely insane to NOT have a job lined up?! Just because Jane Doe has a job offer at XYZ Company does not mean that you and I are any less on the right path. As we all work at our own pace we all have different plans. Expecting a person to have their life figured out with a plan set in stone at the age of 21 is ludicrous. In a sense it’s forcing you to believe you’re typingdoing something wrong and it creates unnecessary and unwanted anxiety.

My aspiration in life is to become a novelist and I know I will get there (at my own pace). I genuinely love the look of confusion I get when I tell people I am an English major and Journalism minor. News flash: I love books people and as you can tell from reading this I have a strong love for writing. I am sorry if you are personally offended that I am choosing to follow the route of what I love opposed to the route of money. For all of you out there struggling with the same societal concept that you have to have your life figured by your early twenties you are not alone! I am here to tell you it’s OK. Take a deep breath. You are not alone and we are going to figure this thing (life) out.

With Care,

Briana Marie Benitez

Piggin’ Out at Hamiltion Pork

As we know, a girl loves to eat. Here’s my review of Jersey City restaurant Hamilton Pork!

Calling all meat lovers: If you have love for barbecue look no further than restaurant, Hamilton Pork, to suffice all your pork needs.

Brothers, Michael and John Gondevas opened the barbecue spot in February 2016 just celebrating its year anniversary. But before the eatery was even an idea, the duo opened the Jersey City restaurant Hamilton Inn in April 2010.

“Business is great we are very busy. We’re both from here [New Jersey]. We’re very fortunate that it is so good and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Gondevas.

The eatery’s exterior greets customers with a neon pig and smiling hostess, followed by an interior setting completely unique to them. To the left of the entrance is the bar, but not just any bar as it is carved out of a shipping container. If you are having a hard time visualizing that think of the Baltimore docks from “The Wire.”

Hanging on the wall to the right is a large American flag that draws the eye to the exposed brick walls to complete the ambiance.

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I have a strong love for barbecue so I was a little overwhelmed when I saw the variety of mouth-watering items on the menu including brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, pork belly and baby back ribs. I went with the pulled pork ($10) and a side of French fries ($6). As for drinks, I ordered the “Bees Knees,” which is a mix of mezcal, lemon juice, maraschino, and ginger ale a balanced blend of citrus and tequila.

Their dessert menu includes a churro ice cream sandwich, which I need to try the next time I visit. When the table in front of mine ordered it, it really was love at first sight.

The food is brought out to you on a tray with a slab of meat on the left, red pickled onions, and whatever side you choose. They supply a hearty portion size so make sure you visit on an empty stomach.

The array of flavors present in the pulled pork made me eager to try what the rest of the menu has to offer. Hamilton Pork also serves guest brunch Sunday through Monday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m..

They are conveniently located steps away from Hamilton Park at 247 10th St. in Jersey City, so you can walk off the pounds of food you just consumed without feeling too guilty. To conclude, I was very impressed with the restaurant. The combination of quality food with the level exceptional service makes for a wonderful dining experience.

Even if you are not huge of barbecue, I encourage you to try Hamilton Porkthey just might win you over.

It’s 2017.. Stop Saying “That’s Gay”

This piece was written by me for my school newspaper, The Pauw Wow, but I felt I needed to share it with you guys too!

Around two weeks ago I was in class when one of my peers said something along the lines of, “I hope he’s not doing that because that looks/is gay and that’s not cool”. You know what’s not cool? Homophobic slurs. Come on people, it is 2017 and individuals are still throwing around inappropriate shade?

I am a Hispanic woman with a ‘straight’ sexual preference. Does this mean that I think I am superior to all other relationships because it’s between a male and female? No, it does not. People of planet Earth I have a news flash for you: love is love. You are free to love whomever you desire and this is the greatest thing life has to offer.

My classmate is unaware that his/her words can inflict serious wounds on the surrounding public. This person did not consider the fact that someone else in the class very well could have a different sexual preference than him/her. For this person to cast his/her feelings as correct is insensitive.

Now more than ever  America needs love. Making others feel inferior based on their sexual preference should be a thing of the past. I believe we should appreciate the differences between all of us. Everyone has the right to choose the relationship or partner they want to choose.

One of my favorite campaigns is the NOH8 campaign. The campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Their mission is to promote love, acceptance, and respect for all human beings will continue in pursuit of #NOH8Worldwide.

Time has passed since Proposition 8 was approved. In fact, on June 26th, 2015 the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states across the United States. On this date I felt overwhelmed with joy for all those who could now legally marry the love of their life.

I hope my classmate reads this and hopefully will take from this a reevaluation of his/her actions towards others. This person’s identity is irrelevant and I want the readers to be aware that I want to stress the notion of hate that was being emitted.

As of lately I see more and more hate crimes on a local and national level. We need not forget that our differences make us the blended country that we are. It’s so much easier to love something than to hate it, love is the easiest thing in the world. We shouldn’t shame others for being of a different ethnicity, color, or orientation. We are all a part of the human race. We all bleed red.

Meet Joshua Stone

What you wear on your feet can reveal a lot about you. In recent years the love for sneakers has soared to an all time high. I wanted to know what all the ‘hype’ was about so I went to the shoe store Packer at their Jersey City location and sat down with their employee Joshua Stone. Here’s what he had to say:

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Josh is wearing a Packer x Lafayette beanie, Persol Frames, Harris Tweed x Goodenough puffer jacket, Uniqlo Selvedge slim fit distressed jean, and Karhu Aria x Concepts on his feet.

 

Where are you from?

I was born in London and raised in France. I was sick of France and wanted a change. I had dual citizenship so I figured it I’d check it out. I went to the French Caribbean, Martinique, for a couple months first. Then I went to NYC and then finally Jersey City.

At what age did you realize your love for sneakers?

At age 9. I had this obsession with cool patterns. My parents didn’t see the point in getting them [sneakers] because they were crazy expensive and my foot was still growing. My first pair was a pair of adidas dragons.

Where was the first place you worked when you got here?

When I got here I worked at Memes, a Japanese/American owned company that opened in the 90s. It was my first job getting into New York. I worked there for two and a half years. I left because I felt like I wasn’t growing.

What are your top 5 favorite sneakers of all time?

  1. New Balance UKRB 670 made in England “Red Devils”
  2. Le Coqsportif Flash x Sneaker Freaker “Summer Bay”
  3. Adidas Consortium LA Trainer OG MIG
  4. Nike Air Max 1 “87” “Curry’s”
  5. Visvim FBT OG

How did you end up at Packer?

I was walking around the neighborhood and friends of mine were telling me “Oh this used to be a sneaker store” but it was closed down and they said “yeah I think it was called Packer”. I thought to myself, ‘really a Packer in Jersey City’? As time went on I forgot about it. Then I was online looking for work searching sneaker websites through Instagram and I tried to see where the store [Packer] was and realized they were in Teaneck. One day I walked by [Jersey City location] and saw that they were doing renovations on it. I couldn’t find the owner at that time but then a pop-up came on Instagram telling me when they were reopening. It was perfect timing. I was there an hour before opening with my resumé in hand. I asked to see manager who took it and gave me the same “Oh just come back if we see you more often we’ll see how things go”, and so I came back and when I did he remembered my name after that we built an organic relationship from there. They usually don’t hire anyone from outside in the company but they hired me.

What is your favorite thing about shoes?

It’s one of my favorite accessories that is affordable. They are timeless pieces. You can go back to any era.  I love New Balances a lot, the quality of comfort is up there and they have great color schemes.  There’s so many brands of shoes that I like, if I start talking about them all we’d be here all day. I don’t have a favorite pair, it’s more of favorite time periods for me.

Is your family supportive of your sneaker endeavors?

My mom has always been a positive supporter of me. My dad never understood it until recently.

What is the definition of a “hypebeast” and would you consider yourself one?

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Let’s say a hypebeast is a random guy who could be new to it and has no idea about anything with fashion and decides to walk his way into liking it. He’d be over the top with every new drop and follow everything the blogs or websites say. No I am definitely not a hypebeast I don’t jump on every ‘hype’ product that’s out there that everyone wants. In this business you have a lot of access to things and it jades you. You’re not really the consumer so much. Everything doesn’t have to be bought to me. I don’t need it when it drops. I don’t subscribes to Hypebeast or Highsnobiety or any of the sites that push out what’s ‘hot’, the only magazine I have a subscription to is Sneaker Freaker.

What’s it like at Packer when there’s a new drop?

It depends on how hype it is, if it hit Hypebeast or Complex or any of these websites it can get so crazy. We can have lines out the wazoo lasting over two hours. There’s a lot of s*** that’s being sold out, like NMD R1 is just a hype shoe. It’s a bang average pair for me. (Bang average= not worth the hype). It’s just a product Adidas is making money off of. The shoe that I think is going to change the game this year is the Adidas EQT Boost 91/17.

What’s your style?

I feel like it’s a mix of the 90s, 80s, and Japanese-ish. My style is my own and really depends on two things: the weather and my mood. If i wake up and have a shoe I want to wear then I’ll build my outfit based on that. There’s definitely levels to it.

You can follow Josh’s sneaker Instagram @gnihsoj ! Packer is located 382 Marin Blvd, J.C. and 941 Teaneck Road, Teaneck.

A Weekend in Pittsburgh

As we know, I enjoy travelling to see my loved ones. This time it wasn’t all the way across the country (sorry Less).  This time I went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to see my best friend Meghan who attends the University of Pittsburgh.

Travelling from Bayonne to Pittsburgh is usually about a five and a half hour car ride.  Meghan’s mom and I hit some traffic along the way so it took us seven hours to get there. This was not my first rodeo. Believe it or not I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gone to PITT to see Meghan. Usually I take the Megabus and it’s somewhere between an eight to ten hour bus ride.

I’m not sure whimg_4781at it is but there’s something about the atmosphere that makes me all the more appreciative to be in Pittsburgh when I am. The first time I was there I said something along the lines of “Oh my God that’s the bridge from The Perks of Being a Wallflower!” That’s when I knew I was going to love Pitt.  We arrived at 10 p.m. and there was no time to waste! Meghan told me to get ready because we were going out. For those of you who do not know, Pittsburgh is a college town. You see nothing but students when walking along Forbes Avenue.

That night we went to three bars: Garage Door Saloon (G Door), Hemingway’s Café (Hems), and Peter’s Pub (Peter’s). G Door is right down the block from Meghan. So naturally we stopped there first. This bar is fun if you want to shoot some pool. I hate pickles, but I had my first pickle shot there. Next up is Hem’s this bar is great because they put gummy worms in the drinks and there’s always a big crowd. img_4821Finally, Peter’s is perfectly split between a chill atmosphere on the first floor and a dance floor on the second. The next time I go to Pitt Meghan’s going to take me to bars in Shadyside and South Side.

I know what you’re thinking.. “Bri you went all the way to Pittsburgh and all you did was drink?!” Well the answer is no! Aside from drinking we went to three notable restaurants, Social House Seven, The Yard, and Naturoll. If you know me you’d know that I’m all about Asian food. So I was delig
hted when we went to Social House Seven, a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant.  We ordered spicy edamame (my one true love), a series of rolls, and ginger pear egg rolls for dessert. Definitely try the Poke Aloha roll if you go. Switching over to a more American-style restaurant is The Yard. They are known for their gourmet grilled cheeses, burgers, and craft beers. I ordered the Mac Attack, which is mac and cheese with bacon bits on two fat Texas toast slices. It comes with a little tomato soup and I got Parmesan fries on the side. Let’s just say I was drooling from the first bite all the way to the last. Lastly, we went to Naturoll. I’ve heard so many good things about rolled ice cream so I had to see what all the hype was about. I ordered the s’mores which is chocolate ice cream, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallow. It was chocolate heaven and you can see from the picture how nice the presentation was (totally Instagram worthy!).

All in all I had a great weekend filled with food, laughs, and love. See you soon PITT !

Where to Eat This Weekend

Where to eat: Umi Sushi – 118 E 31st St

 Got love for sushi? If you answered yes to that question then I have the place for you!

Alright, I can’t take all the credit here. My good friend/soul sister/confidant, Chelsey, led me to Umi Sushi.

The Japanese restaurant has a kind of hole in the wall feel to it and is located in Korea Town, a short walk from the 33rd Street Path Station (for all my New Jersey natives).

img_4274We went to Umi Sushi on Thursday around 5 p.m. and there was no wait. As soon as you walk through the door you are greeted with a welcoming smile from the hostess. She led us to our seats and luckily we got the window seat that overlooks the sidewalk traffic (I told you I love people watching!!) The menu has classic Japanese food.  For drinks, I went with Pinot Grigio and Chelsey went with Pinot Noir. As for food, we ordered two miso soups, edamame, a shrimp tempura roll, and a yellowtail & avocado roll.

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Edamame, Shrimp Tempura, and Yellowtail Roll

Everything came out quick and the service was wonderful. Our server checked on us a number of times. Getting back to the food, everything was mouthwatering. The edamame was cooked perfectly and had the right amount of salt. I could eat edamame five times a day for the next seven years and still not get sick of it. That’s love. The rolls were delicious and I stepped out of my California roll comfort zone and tried the yellowtail & avocado. I think the best thing about this restaurant is how fresh everything was. You could taste the freshness and this is so important. No one wants to eat old sushi.

Umi Sushi has great service and food to compliment. The atmosphere is very causal so don’t worry about looking fancy. This is a good spot to go on a friend date, a real date, or alone!  Definitely check them out for yourself. #treatyoself

My Trip to Krispy Kreme

We all have a sweet tooth we can’t ignore.  My problem is I have about six or seven and I cannot deny their requests. I remember the first time I had Krispy Kreme I was with my cousin in Florida. When I took my first bite of the deliciously warm doughnut I knew this was potentially dangerous and I was thankful there were none up North because knowing me I would buy a dozen every day. It’s safe to say it was love at first bite.

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Krispy Kreme Grand Opening

This was around two years ago. Then one day on my drive home from work I notice a new billboard. It read: “Krispy Kreme Coming This Fall! Downtown Near the Grove St. Path” I thought to myself this was it. This was the moment I had been waiting for the last two years. When Fall rolled around I noticed the billboard changed, now it read: “Coming This January!” How could Krispy Kreme play with my emotions like this? When January made its way to the calendar the billboard changed again and this time it said Krispy Kreme was to open on February 7th, 2017. Could I trust this information to be true? I was tired of having my hopes crushed by this billboard.

The seventh day of February was a particularly cold one. My love for donuts lead me to the new location. I don’t know why I thought going at 3 p.m. on the opening day was a smart idea, but could you blame me? I was eager to get that savory taste I had been missing out on the last two years. The line was outside the door. I waited on it for fifteen minutes in the cold air and just as I was about to get through the door I realized I told my sister I would get her from school to save her from taking the bus. I abandoned my doughnut dreams and chose to be a good sister.

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Assorted Flavors

Naturally, I was back on the line the next day. To my joy it was gorgeous 60° weather with not a cloud in sight. This time around I went at 2 p.m. and the line was much more pleasant to be on. I waited for a strong twenty minutes. Once you’re inside you are led to a glass window and through the glass you can see the doughnuts being made on an assembly line. I progressed to the counter and ordered a half dozen of the original glazed doughnuts with an iced vanilla latte. You’ve got to treat yourself am I right? I stuck with the classic original donuts, but Krispy Kreme actually has over ten different donut flavors for you to try. I bit into the warm dough and it was love all over again. The sweet taste of the icing filled my mouth and I was smiling like a fool. I was a happy camper and my doughnut cravings had been satisfied (even though I’ll probably go back for more next week).

I was so relieved to be off the line and felt over the moon with satisfaction, but something was missing. I wanted word from one of owners on how they were feeling. I went up to a man with a black Krispy Kreme shirt and introduced myself.  He told me he was Riley from Krispy Kreme corporate. He seemed to like that I was wearing a PITT hoodie and asked me if I attended the university. Once I said no his mood shifted and he seemed to want nothing more to do to me. Going so far as to take a phone call during our conversation. He declined to comment on the traffic of the restaurant or answer any of the questions I had.

I did not let this negativeness ruin my experience. I am still so excited they’ve opened a location so close to me and think it is a brilliant spot for business. If you’re a doughnut lover like me I highly recommend making a trip. They are located at 95 Columbus Avenue Jersey City, New Jersey.

8 Hour Layover

Here’s what I did for 8 hours in Arizona:

I planned a trip to visit my dear cousin, Celeste,  in Washington state. When booking my flight I realized I made a major mistake. I booked a flight that was not flying directly to my destination. Instead it had two stops. The first stop was Chicago, Illinois for five hours and the next stop was Phoenix, Arizona for another 3 hours and then I would reach my final destination. Most people would see two stops and freak out. My first thought was to consider myself lucky because I’d never been to either of the places listed. Of course I’m going to make the best out of a crappy situation!

Fast forward to when I arrived at Chicago O’hare Airport. It was a relatively quick flight from Newark, New Jersey to Chicago. Overall I was in good spirits. Then the thought crept up in my mind again… Five hours to go… F i v e H o u r s… This is when anxiety snuck up on me and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in the airport for that long. Sure, I love people img_4023watching but not for five hours straight.

I went over to the directory and saw that there was an earlier flight out to Phoenix. This flight was scheduled to depart 40 minutes then and a good five hours earlier than. To be frank, I figured Phoenix was a safer (and warmer) place to travel alone. I walked to the assistance counter and asked the woman wearing a welcoming smile if there was any possible chance I could be on the next flight to Arizona. To my joy I was able to get a seat on the flight (a window seat at that !!). A quick 3 hours later and I was looking out my window to pink desert sand.

Of course I don’t know anyone in Arizona  so getting picked up from the airport was out of the question. Nor did I have the slightest idea what I was going to do for the next 8 hours but I seeing the mountains from my plane was enough for me. Fortunate for myself, I was equipped with an iPhone and Siri gave some great suggestions. map

I decided to go to Desert Botanical Garden. It was ten minute drive from the airport. Naturally, I took an Uber. Special shout out to my driver Larry, he was very friendly and offered all his knowledge on the background of Phoenix. The garden itself was absolutely beautiful. You can see from the figure on the right how far it expands. I spent hours there admiring all the cacti and everything else they eye could see. If you ever find yourself in Phoenix definitely check this place out!

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Welcome to my world people!

Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamt of creating my own space where I am free to share my thoughts, feelings, and ideas with the world. Now I have this space and I am thrilled to write it all down! You should expect a long list of posts from me ranging anywhere from reviews on restaurants, movies, and books to the next place you should visit.

I’m back! (And I’m Better)

A sincere apology to all of you who actually keep up with my blog because I have been on a little hiatus post grad. Where did I go? Well.. the main reason I’ve been MIA is because I didn’t have a laptop. The computer I was using was loaned to me through Saint Peter’s so I had to part ways with it. BUT, I finessed real quick and bought myself a new Mac. (No I’m not rich, I just spend money like I am). That’s a different story though.

I strongly encourage all of my fellow artists to find the time to write, read, sing or whatever it is that makes you happy. I know we’ve all got lives and sometimes it feels overwhelming to try to sit down and get a hold on your thoughts, but trust me you’ll be glad you did. My problem is, I wake up check my phone for any new notifications and then I get sucked into the realm of the inter webs. One minute I’m scrolling through Instagam and then I realize I’ve been browsing all my social media repeatedly for 3 hours.. Talk about a waste of time. Yes, I love keeping up with my friends and watching random slime videos but I need to draw the line somewhere. That’s why I’m sitting here typing this. I’m in the process of figuring out what’s important to me.

What’s happened since my 3 month hiatus? I graduated. WOO! Do I have a job lined up? No. Does that mean I’m a failure? No, because I have a job currently and I’m making silent moves. I’m working 3 days a week now.. not four. So I really have no excuses left except myself. I’m going to Ireland next week. Don’t worry, I’ll write about it (I promise).

I know it seems like I’m bouncing around here with this post but that’s just how my brain works. Since my work shifts have changed I definitely have ample time to write, create, and organize these thoughts of mine.

I hope this post encourages you to do something! No more choosing negativity and pessimism. Choose happiness. Or don’t, it’s your world!

Expect posts from me on Mondays & Fridays. Thank you all for following my little blog, seriously it means a lot. 🙂

Be back soon…

Hello world,

I want to extend my sincerest apologies for being M.I.A! Life got hectic really fast with all the chaos that comes with graduating (I got my B.A. Woo!!). 

The main reason I have been LAX on posting is because I had to give my laptop back to Saint Peter’s as it was a loan. I need to make sure all photos and everything else looks good before posting and a laptop is very much needed for this.

On an uplifting note, I saved some coins and I’m going to try to buy a laptop next week! Apple I’m coming for you. I’m writing this as I sit at brunch with my loving mother in Miami. (This is my graduation present, I’m spoiled).

I have a lot of content to update you all on. Writing soon! 

With care,

Bri

Unclutter Your Life

I’ve realized in my 21 years of life that I am on the road to becoming a hoarder. Read this article I wrote for my university newspaper, The Pauw Wow on how to avoid being like me. I promise I’m working on changing!

When the snow melts and the breezy air begins to welcome itself, the thought of spring cleaning tends to plague the minds of many. Here are a few tips when getting into the groove of the new season.

First and foremost: if you haven’t used it or worn it in over a year, throw it away.

According to the APA Practice Organization, hoarding is a subtype of obsessive compulsive disorder that is characterized by three core features: the acquisition of a large number of possessions; the failure to discard a large number of possessions; and living in spaces that are sufficiently cluttered as to preclude their intended use.

More often than not, individuals hold onto items for memories and other psychological reasons. The more items you hold onto, as the years go by, the easier it is to want to hold onto everything. This is why organizing and uncluttering your life are necessary.

When asked about her thoughts on spring cleaning, Betty Zhu, said “Why just spring and not every season? You should really clean all year.”

Yes, we all like to think we have impeccable fashion taste, even if you haven’t worn any of the clothes that have sat in your closet for the last three seasons. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have neglected it for the past eight months, it’s safe to say you’re not going to touch it this month. What’s excess is not needed. Repeat this in your head until it becomes your mantra.

We’re going to tackle some of the usual suspects that tend to lead to overcrowding: makeup, clothes, books, etc. According to  an article on the Huffington Post, makeup such as mascara is meant to be replaced every three months or so. Yes, makeup is expensive so it’s understandable why one would want to keep it, but it’s healthier if you don’t.

Grab a big bag and start sifting through clothing to find out what does not fit anymore, what is old, and what you have never worn. Once this is done, put it all in said bag and drop it off to any organization like Goodwill, Veterans of America, or American Red Cross that will take used and gently worn clothing.

Donating clothes rather than throwing them to the garbage is a way of knowing your memories will live on. Most of all, it eliminates space in your drawers or closet and makes room for more.

Miscellaneous items and other small things can pile up quick if you let them and what was once a few hair ties and pens eventually turns into the “junk drawer” which, by the title, suggests that you can do without 95 percent of the items found in the drawer.

The key to minimizing clutter is to set goals for yourself. Write everything you want to accomplish down and tackle the list one item at a time.  A clean living environment and workspace can alleviate the stress clutter can bring.