The Mono Chronicles, Part 2: The Kissing Disease

Mononucleosis, or Mono, is also widely known as “the kissing disease” for the simple fact that it is mainly spread through the saliva. It’s a viral illness and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics like a bacterial infection. The only cure for mono is some good old-fashioned rest and lots of fluids.

After learning from my doctor that my blood test came back positive for the mono virus, I felt defeated. Not just from the physical exhaustion this illness had havocked on my body, but I was mentally wiped.

I remember my mom hanging up the phone with my doctor and summarizing the diagnosis to me. Unexpectedly, I began to cry.

It was a combination of finally knowing how sick I really was and feeling sorry for myself because of how much work I would miss and how this would affect me long term. I felt silly for crying, but it was the reality of the situation.

Thankfully, I have some of the best parents in the world so I stayed with them and my little brother at home where my mom spent the good part of a week taking care of me.

And since there was no magical pill I could take to get better, my days were filled with cups of tea with lemon and agave (sorry I’m vegan, save the bees), cough drops, salt water gargles and a special gargle my doctor prescribed that basically numbed my entire mouth and throat so I could get food down. Sounds like lots of fun, huh?

The worst of the sickness was over in about 3 or 4 days. My pounding headaches subsided with the help of ibuprofen, my sinuses began to drain (unfortunately it was so much sometimes that it caused me to gag and vomit on a few occasions) and the physical pain in my throat slowly went away.

I will never forget how absolutely weak my body felt. If you, or anyone you know has ever had mono, I’m sure this point is relatable. It’s the weakest I’ve ever felt in my life. I could barely get out of bed to even go to the bathroom and I remember the extreme strength I had to muster to even get a cup to my lips the first few days.

Some of the things I learned about my illness from googling and researching while I spent days on end in a stationary position is that the only way to be officially diagnosed with mono is through a blood test. Your doctor uses the sample to see if there are certain types of white blood cell in your system that attempts to kill off the virus. And much like chicken pox, most people only get infected with mono once in their lifetime.

The only tricky part is that contrary to chicken pox, although you only get it once, the mono virus lives in your body for the rest of your life. For most of the time, the cells will stay dormant. But in times of intense stress and strain on your immune system, it can resurface and you can have a “flare-up”, which unfortunately happened to me.

Twice.

Lol.

Stay tuned to see how mono affects me today…

Or read Part 1 here if you missed it

The Mono Chronicles, Part 1: The Infection

Thanks for reading!

How to Survive Long Trips

The only shitty part about living so far away from where I grew up is that the trip home is a real journey.It usually involves a subway ride (or two), a train ride and sometimes a few hours in the passenger seat of a car. Most times it rounds out at about 6 hours, sometimes more or less depending on how much time I spend waiting or being delayed. But I’ve become somewhat of a “professional traveler” based on the amount of times I’ve taken this trip.

So, I figured I would share my tips for surviving long (and boring) trips back home or to wherever you want to go.

Tip #1: Luggage

Carrying heavy bags through the subway and up and down stairs in any station while you’re traveling can be absolute misery. So do your best to pack light, especially when you’re only spending a few days somewhere and not attending any special events. I get it; once in a while we need to pack extra because we have a wedding or a party to attend. And that’s perfectly fine. I find that picking out an outfit for the event in advance (shoes, accessories and all) and trying it on helps ensure you’re not over packing.

I recommend a backpack or some sort of large tote bag as a “carry-on”. Something you can jam your smaller handbag in but still have room for things you’ll want for the trip. It’s much easier to have one bag while trying to maneuver through isles of a train car or bus. Also be sure to check the limits for your specific type of transportation. Some have weight limits or bag limits for luggage depending on what you choose.

Tip #2: Getting the best seat

Ok, this is probably the most important tip I’m gonna give you. If you’re anything like me and like to have your choice of seat and are also mad awkward about asking complete strangers if you can sit with them, then listen up. Get there earlier than you think you need to be.I’m serious. If your ticket or reservation says “passengers should arrive 20 minutes prior to departure for boarding”, cool, so get there 30 or 45 minutes in advance. Trust me, you’ll beat everyone there and most likely be the front of the line, if not the first person (I have been first before lol it’s great). This is also important because most buses and trains do not have assigned seats. It’s a first come first serve basis.

*Pro-tip: If you wanna cop a seat alone, get there early, grab a window seat and jam all your shit in the seat next to you. Then pop in some headphones and look longingly out the window. Most people will be way too considerate to interrupt you to ask if they can sit there. (Only time this doesn’t work is when there’s a full train/bus and every seat hasto be used.)

Tip #3: What to bring for the journey

When it comes to packing things for a long trip, here are some essentials. These also come in handy when there are delays (yes, they are inevitable sometimes) and you need to pass some time while you wait.

  1. A good book- I love packing a book, whether I’ve read it 3 times already, just started it yesterday, or its been sitting on my shelf for months. There is no better time to get into a book than on a long, quiet train ride with nothing else to do.
  2. My laptop- It’s always with me for numerous reasons. One being the fact that I write this blog and I never know when inspiration may strike or if I need to get a post up while traveling. I also love being able to watch Netflix or YouTube or browsing online when the onboard Wi-Fi works.
  3. Headphones- These are essential for me anytime I set foot outside my house, but especially on a long trip because I find that listening to music passes the time just as much as reading a book does. It’s also the perfect time to find new music or explore different playlists.
  4. Snacks- Buying food on a train is soooo expensive, so don’t waste your money on that. And obviously on a bus there is no café car so I prefer to bring my own snacks and usually water (lately sparkling, or a seltzer because I’m obsessed with them). Bring easy things like nuts, chips, or fruit that doesn’t make a mess. Don’t go whipping out your moms homemade lasagna. Trains rides are usually smooth but not thatsmooth.

Tip #4: How to deal with people

We know it’s going to happen once in a while; that noisy kid that won’t stop screaming in the seat behind you or that guy that’s talking mad loud on his phone the entire ride. The thing I’ve learned while doing all this traveling is that you can’t control other people. You can just be a good human and hope that others will follow your lead. I try my best to help anyone who hasn’t traveled much and is confused or lost, and I always act respectful of others personal space and the public spaces I’m sharing. If someone is doing something super annoying, don’t be afraid to talk to the staff on the train or bus because you paid for your ticket just like they did and you deserve to enjoy your trip as well. Or if you’re gutsy enough, stand up to the person yourself and express your opinion about their rude actions. It just may save you and the other passengers some headache.

 

I hope these tips will help make your next trek a little easier. Comment below if you have any other useful tips to share, I’d love to hear them! Follow this blog for future travel posts.

Thanks for reading!

Wanderlust

I’ve wanted to travel for as long as I can remember.

Even just taking family trips as a child, I knew it would be something I would keep doing as I got older. Of course, as I grew up, my dreams grew with me. Going across the state, or making short trips into the bordering states of New York eventually wasn’t enough for me. I craved more. I wanted to see so much more.

When I was in elementary school my parents took my siblings and I to Florida and it was the first time I ever flew on a plane. It wasn’t until I was 22 years old that I flew again when my sister and went with my dad to myrtle beach for a long weekend.

It wasn’t just the flying that gave me wanderlust. It was the whole experience. Being in a new place and seeing all the sights, the people and the way they dressed made me excited and lively.

As I finished college, I considered the prospect of traveling the world and seeing all the places I had yet to see. But of course, straight out of college I had no money, a dead end job and loan payments on the horizon. So I put my travel dreams on the back burner and tried to live a happy, meaningful life anyway.

Fast forward and I’m 24, not so fresh out of college, living in Brooklyn and working (another!) dead end job as I transition to the city. The loan payments knock at my door every month, along with my outrageous New York City rent making my bank account grumble as the life is drained from it.

But my visceral need to travel is still there, poking away at me everyday, waiting to be brought to fruition. And the realization I’ve come to in these last few years…

If not now, when?

I’ve always felt (and forgive me if not everyone thinks this way, it’s just my opinion) that there is this whole world out there for us to explore and we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t try to see as much of it as we could in the little time we have on this earth. I don’t believe we were meant to see a tiny sliver of what life has to offer, but that we are supposed to embrace how others live, what they create and how they love. Only in doing so can we finally learn what our purpose is in this life.

That’s just my outlook on the subject. Roast me in the comments or tell me why you agree or disagree.

So where do I go from here?

I don’t have any concrete plans just yet, but there are some definitely in the works. I’m doing my research and reading lots of blogs about solo travel, tips for first-time travelers and the best destinations to go.

If you or anyone you know has done some traveling (or maybe writes a travel blog!) and has tips to share, comment on this post or send me a message using my contact page.

Contact Me page

Thanks for reading!

How Not To Die On The NYC Subway

Ok, ok. I know the title of this sounds a little dramatic, but let me explain.

The New York City subway can be a dangerous place, or as we New Yorkers prefer to call it, “the train”. In 2017 there were 181 incidents involving people coming in contact with trains, 44 were deaths. But I’m not just talking about this kind of death involving the subway, despite it being important. I’m mainly talking about the everyday hustle and bustle of riding the MTA. Whether you live in New York or you’re just visiting the city, here are some of the ways you can make your subway experience super fun more tolerable.

Since we already touched on the serious stuff, let’s just wrap it up here. Watch the damn gap, ok? The last you want to happen is to get jammed in that little area between the train and the platform. Did I create a horrific image there for you? Well sorry, but it’s no joke. I know too many people who know someone who has gotten injured from not paying attention to that gap. Or people who have witnessed someone fall in there. So just be careful ok. And do what the warning labels say. They’re there for a reason. Watch the gap, Stand clear of the platform edge, Do not hold doors, all that good stuff.

One thing I learned very early on while taking the subway was that if a car is suspiciously empty during a busy time of the day, you most likely want to follow your instincts and avoid it. If you make the same mistake I did, you’ll end up in a car that combines all the worst smells on earth in one; dirt, body odor, rotten food, feces maybe? Homeless people sleep on the subway all the time so do yourself a favor and try not to get stuck in a car they’ve made their home. And if you do, jump off at the next stop and switch cars. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Speaking of the homeless, (yes it’s sad to see all the time) some of them are straight up douchebags. Watch out for those ones. No one should ever be forcing you to cough up change if you don’t want to. If you feel compelled to give something, then be my guest. But remember that there’s tons of people turning them down everyday. Ignore the beggars and panhandlers who try to make everyone on the train feel like shit for not helping them. You can’t save the world with your coin purse. The only people I ever truly feel like donating to are the performers or ones that try to at least give you something in return. And let me tell you, there are some true talents out there. Violin players, singers, dancers, magicians, you name it and I’ve probably seen it on the subway.

Headphones are your lifeline in New York, if I haven’t made that clear already. If you wanna avoid being talked to by strangers, or worse, then pop those babies in. I wear mine all the time, whether I’m listening to music or not. It keeps the crazies away, ’cause you know we got plenty of those. Mostly I just do it for my own safety not because I think those people are nuts and not worthy of being listened to. I just don’t know what some of them are capable of and I avoid confrontation anyway so I’m not exactly inclined to get into a fight with someone on the train.

*Just a quick note: If you wear headphones, don’t forget to stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the people around you. Plus, you might need to listen to the train conductors announcements once in a while so be wary of that too.

There are oftentimes announcements that run across the screen on the train giving you warnings from the NYC police department just reminding everyone to keep their belongings with them at all times and watch for suspicious activity. The thing most tourists worry about with riding the subway is getting their shit stolen. Despite how rare that is, it is a reality. Be smart, keep your stuff close to you, and always in your sight, especially when it comes to carrying groceries or other shopping acquisitions home with you. Open bags are an easy target for pick-pocketers too, just as a general note. Don’t go all “clutching your bag for dear life” on people because that’s another way to direct attention to yourself. Act natural, but be mindful.

Most things about the subway, we just cannot control. The delays, the skipped stops, the smells and more importantly, the temperature. The train cars are all air conditioned, nice right? Yeah, sure. But the stations are hot as hell. Like unbearably hot sometimes. In the summer its terrible because you’ve already walked to the station in the heat and then once you get underground it just kicks up another 5 degrees. In the colder months it the opposite. You walk round on the street level with your fall jacket or your winter parka. But once again, you get down into that station and its a goddamn sauna. You really can’t win here, I’m just gonna be honest with you. So mentally prepare yourself for profuse sweating and uncomfortable stickiness.

Comment below if you have a good public transport story and share this post to save a life!

Thanks for reading!

The Mono Chronicles, Part 1: The Infection

While laid up in bed for days with mono, I joked to my mom that I should keep a diary of the experience and call it the Mono Chronicles. Of course, I said it then as some comic relief when I was feeling like shit. But now looking back, I should have taken some notes. Hopefully what I remember about the experience can help someone out there maybe going through the same thing or something similar.

So here it is, Part 1 of what I’m calling The Mono Chronicles. Enjoy.

Most of the time, when I get sick, I turn to Google to diagnose me. Of course, most of the time, it turns out Google is very wrong and I’m not going to die in 3 days.

So in April of 2018 when I got a sore throat, I figured it was just a symptom of a seasonal cold that would go away in a few days.

Boy was I wrong.

This sore throat was unlike any other I’ve had before. I had weird white bumps all over my tonsils, and it was so swollen that I could barely get food down my throat. Then I woke up one Sunday morning with puffy eyelids that I couldn’t explain. This then happened again on Monday and I felt like a monster so even going to work was a feat. I figured it was probably worth getting checked out by a doctor so I left work that Tuesday morning on April 24th to go to my local Urgent Care.

There they ruled out just allergies being the cause of this eye puffiness and sore throat. The doctor decided to test me for strep throat, a common illness indicated by a sore throat. My rapid strep test came back negative, but they informed me they would send it to the lab for a full workup and call me in 48 hours with the results. In the meantime, I was diagnosed with viral pharyngitis (basically just a fancy name for inflammation in the throat).

The doctor advised me to take Tylenol for the physical pain, suck on cough drops, and drink tea and lots of fluids in order to soothe my symptoms. These were all typical remedies for a sore throat that I’d used a million times in my life.

For the next 48 hours I prayed that I had strep so I could be prescribed antibiotics and get rid of this sickness real quick. I had already missed some days of work and I was feeling worse by the day. Finally, I got the call I had been waiting for. And the test came back negative again.

I was immediately disheartened and quite frankly annoyed with my diagnosis. There was still something very wrong with me and no one could figure it out. I called my mom freaking out, worrying that there was something we were missing. After she calmed me down, we decided it best to see another doctor. Instead of just another ER, my mom called up the primary care physician that my dad went to and I got an appointment for that Thursday the 26th of April.

I showed to my appointment that day in immense pain, exhausted and not myself at all. I explained to this doctor all the symptoms I was having, wincing with pain at every word (at this point it hurt to even talk), and after being tested another time for strep, she wanted to run a test for one last thing. Mono.

The word was already familiar to me. I had a childhood friend who got mono as a young girl. And a friend at work joked that I had mono when I told him how sick I was. But hearing my doctor saying it could be the cause of my symptoms was dreadful. I knew mono was not good.

Before I left the office my blood was drawn and after almost passing out, (I’m not good with needles y’all) I was sent home to rest and continue my regime of throat care. My doctor also prescribed me some mouthwash that was meant to numb my throat so I could at least get some food down.

A day later my blood work came back and my mom got the call from my doctor that I had been waiting for.

And it was both good and bad news.

What do you prefer to hear first? I usually always choose the bad, but that’s just me.

I had mono.

And the good news? At least I had a real diagnosis finally.

To be continued…

Thanks for reading!

Check back soon for Part 2.

 

 

 

 

DO’s and DON’Ts of Job Relocation

The one question I got sick of answering when I told people I was moving to New York was,

“So do you have a job lined up down there?” or other variations of the same inquiry.

With a quick smile and a sassy tone of voice I would answer,

“Not really, I’m just kinda winging it!”

Which was mostly the truth. I had somewhat of a plan, but not a solid one (one I would come to wish had been a littlemore solid).

For a while I liked giving that answer. It made me feel young and free and spontaneous. And maybe even a little inspiring to the people who looked at me with envy when I told them about my New York dreams. Eventually though, it got a little exhausting having to repeat myself over and over. And eventually it began to concern me that so many people were worried about my job situation.

“Should I be worried?” I thought.

Before I moved to New York, I was working at a government hospital about 40 minutes from home. My dad also worked there (the main reason I got the job) and we carpooled to work together everyday. It was a good situation. I liked my job (mostly I just loved the people I got to work with), I made decent money, and had awesome benefits. I mean who can argue with paid vacation and sick days?

The other great thing about this job was that I could transfer to any other government hospital in the US as long as my position was available there.

Sounds like the perfect plan, right? I thought nothing could possibly go wrong here.

Well, I was slightly too optimistic at this point…

About a month or so before I moved, I kept checking the postings to see if my position was open in either the Manhattan or Brooklyn locations that would be close to my new home. And there were a few, which I applied to and awaited a call for an interview.

A call, I would soon find out, that would never come.

Long story short, New York is a busy place. The hospital I was hoping to get into was way behind on sifting through applications, something I learned after numerous unanswered emails and phone calls that promised I would be informed of my application status soon. So in order to pay the bills, I ended up just starting work at a retail store, making hourly wage and doing part-time hours.

As this post goes up, I am still working retail. But after months of getting no answers and waiting impatiently for new positions to open up, I have good news to report.

I have a contact from back home, who originally tried to help me make this transfer happen, that has offered to get in touch with the Manhattan location for me and try to push through an interview.

After continuing to apply for any position that I qualified for, regardless of the location, I was asked to do a phone interview for a position a little farther upstate and my application for a position in Albany, NY has been referred to the next step of the process.

Moral of this story is that things may not fall into place exactly when you want them too. But eventually, on their own time, they will. Don’t lose hope.

In the meantime though, here’s a few DO’s and DON’Ts of job relocating that I’ve learned.

  1. DO have the job locked down

Apply for jobs plenty of time in advance, get the interview (whether it be in person or over the phone if you can’t travel for it), and have the job offer in your hand before you plan your move. Trust me, it’ll relieve a lot of stress if you know you’re walking into something as soon as you’re settled in your new place.

  1. DO contact the right people

You may be surprised who has connections that can be helpful to you. So reach out to the important people but don’t forget about the ones that want to see you land on your feet. Even if they don’t have much power in regards to hiring and relocation, they may just know someone who knows someone who can get you the job.

  1. DON’T assume things will work out perfectly

We all know how the saying goes, so just don’t do it. Don’t assume things will just work out. Or that people will do their job when it comes to getting you a position. Annoy them, email them everyday, call them and leave messages. I know it sounds tedious, but the only way I ever got answers was by constantly keeping in contact with the necessary people.

  1. DON’T get discouraged

It’s not easy relocating your job and not everything is unicorns and rainbows sometimes. It might be a rough experience like mine was, but don’t give up. Because just when you want to give up, things might start to work out. Exhaust your options and lean on your support system when it gets too overwhelming or stressful.

You’ll get through it, I promise. And you’ll come out the other side stronger and smarter. Which is never a bad thing.

Thanks for reading!

 

How To Stay Fit in NYC

I’m a big fan of the gym. I’m also a big fan of running, so being able to find time to do either of those things has been a bit of a struggle when trying to balance a job, time with friends, schlepping back and forth from Brooklyn on the subway everyday and having some alone time as well.

Obviously it’s not hard to stay active when you live in a city that never sleeps. And when theres always something to do, you just kind of get a workout in without thinking about it. But when it boils down to it, some of us want to hit the gym or get a good run in anyway, so here’s some tips on how to do that.

1. Walk whenever you can, but not to an extreme.

Walking is great for burning calories and getting your heart rate up, especially if you’re dragging around groceries or your giant purse loaded with everything you need to survive in NYC. (See my post 5 Things to Never Leave Your Apartment Without) So walk when you can. Get off a stop early on the train when it’s only a few extra blocks to your destination. Walk to a store that’s a little farther from home instead of the one right around the corner. But remember not to over-do it. New York can get super hot in the summer, as I’ve learned. And with all the tall buildings and tons of people, there really isn’t much air flow here so be careful not to give yourself a heat stroke from too much walking. At the end of the day, cardio is the best way to burn fat, so walking is a great way to stay in shape.

2. Find cool places to workout that isn’t the gym.

I never minded running on a treadmill in order to get a run in. And the gym can have other equipment that’s nice to use once in a while. But that can get boring. Or, in my case, your gym can get super over crowded and have tons of broken treadmills that make it almost impossible to even find one to use. So, what my sister and I love to do is find other fun places to go for a walk or a run that gets us out of our boring gym routine and into the New York air (despite how dirty it may be at times.)

My current top 3 recommendations for outdoor places to run/walk are:

  • Chelsea Piers: This is super beautiful to run/walk at when it’s closer to sunset. The views are amazing and it’s less crowed than it would be in the daytime (plus a little cooler cause you get a nice breeze off the water). It’s a great path that’s safe and has tons of space so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck behind slow pedestrians. Highly, highly recommend. I love it here.
  • Maria Hernandez Park: This park has recently become one of our favorite places to walk or run. It was actually recommended to us by a friend that lives in our neighborhood. The setup is much like an outdoor track and even has markers to let you know that 1 lap= 1/3 mile, so that’s pretty cool. The part I enjoy the most is that it’s always full of people hanging out, playing sports on the basketball and volleyball courts, kids playing on playgrounds and tons of other runners. Definitely worth checking out if you live or work nearby.
  • Central Park: I haven’t had a chance to go for a run in Central Park but it doesn’t take much convincing that this is, no doubt, a beautiful park. And based on the countless movies and shows where people go for a run here, it’s a hit among all New Yorkers. I for sure can’t wait to get some miles in here and give my official feedback on it.

3. Turn everyday tasks into a workout

Carrying your groceries home, lugging laundry to the laundromat or even just walking a little farther to the next subway station can turn a mundane task into some form of exercise. We so often just skip the gym or say we’ll go tomorrow and feel guilty about it when instead, we can use everyday tasks as a way of burning calories. Again, make this something you do consciously but not to an extreme. Don’t ever force yourself beyond your physical limits just because you feel bad about not making it to the gym on a very busy Wednesday. Celebrate the victory of walking a few extra blocks to the train stop or carrying a few heavy bags of groceries home. I know for me, sometimes the constant pressure to swipe that little membership card weighs on me and I feel bad for not putting in effort. But in different ways, I am putting in the effort. And sometimes nontraditional forms of exercise can be so much more fun than walking on a treadmill and staring at a cement wall. So don’t discount the simple ways you can get in a workout when you’re just too busy to make it to the gym. Any effort (no matter how small) is better than no effort at all.

I hope this post gave you some ideas on how you’ll stay fit in NYC or any other big city. Feel free to share this with a friend, or leave me a comment and let me know your tricks on how you stay in shape. I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!

5 Things to Never Leave Your Apartment Without

When you move from a small town in upstate New York to one of the biggest cities in the world, you have no choice but to learn fairly quickly,immediately, how to survive in such a place. It didn’t take me long to figure out what I absolutely could not leave my apartment without unless I was wishing ill will upon myself. So here’s the 5 things I never leave without, no matter how heavy my bag may get. Trust me, your shoulder may ache, but your little NY heart will thank you.

#1- Umbrella

I can’t tell you how many times (ok, I will tell you. Literally EVERY time) I’ve looked at the weather, saw that there was no rain in the forecast, and left my umbrella sitting on the shelf in my closet. New York does this funny thing where it just decides to be unpredictable and a day that is meant to be sunny and 89, can turn into a rainy mess within an hour. And that hour always happens to be the one where I need to walk home from the train station. In order to avoid taking an unwanted outdoor shower, I carry my umbrella with me everyday. I don’t care if there’s not a cloud in sight, that baby is going in my bag. Plus, here in New York we’re weird and we use our umbrellas not only when it rains, but when it’s too sunny, too windy, or even when it’s snowing. So toss it in there, it can’t hurt to be prepared.

#2- Your Metrocard

If you’re like me and you’re poor af, you don’t have money to drop on cabs or Uber everyday. So you take the subway, which requires that good ol’ Metrocard we know and love. That dumb, flimsy piece of yellow and blue laminated paper (or whatever it’s made of, I have no idea) is your lifeline. Nothing is more annoying than realizing halfway to the train that you forgot it, or even worse, getting all the way there and having to stand in a long ass line to get a single ride ticket or a new Metrocard. Not to mention the $1 fee for the new card and then whatever amount you need to add after that. Save yourself the trouble and choose a safe place to always keep it. After you swipe it through, make sure it goes right back to where it was (I keep mine in it’s own slot in my wallet. Don’t just throw it in your bag. That just increases your chances of losing it).

#3- GUM (or some kind of breath freshener)

You never know who you’ll meet on the streets of New York; a celebrity, your boss, a future partner, or maybe someone who’s skeptical of the dental hygiene of New Yorkers. Keeping gum or any kind of breath freshener with you assures that if by some chance you meet someone worthy of conversation, they won’t smell that Chipotle rice bowl you just had for lunch. ‘Nuff said on that subject.

*Pro-tip: One of the most long lasting flavors of gum is Trident. I learned this from a friend at work and after my own testing, found it to be pretty damn true.

#4- Your favorite pair of headphones

Mine happen to be the plain Apple headphones you get with a new IPhone. I’ve added some Earhoox to mine because it helps keep them in place while I run. For some reason my ears just don’t hold earbuds as well as other peoples’. Headphones can make or break it for you in the city because we do a lot of waiting around. Waiting in lines, waiting for trains, sitting/ standing on trains, trust me, it gets boring. Most of us listen to music or podcasts while we do this waiting. Plus it’s also helpful to talk on the phone to people with them, so grab a pair that has a microphone. When your hands are full, it’s much easier to talk hands free than with a phone shoved up to your face. Oh and the best part about headphones is that they’re the universal sign for “Don’t talk to me” or “I’m not hearing a word you’re saying”.

Buy the Earhoox here, I love mine: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXMTELG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

#5- A positive attitude

Okay, okay, I know I’m getting a little cliché here, but this is just as important as the other four things. New York is a busy place and you can’t let little hang ups ruin your day. So always leave with a positive attitude in order to make it in the Big Apple. Sometimes things can get a little hectic or overwhelming, I admit to letting stress get to me once in a while. But we have to step back and look at the bigger picture sometimes. I’m living in an amazing city, one that I’ve dreamed of living in for so long. At the end of the day, I get to see things some people will only ever see in photographs. I get to walk these streets and call them home. So chill, just take in the sights and the experiences. They are what shape us as people, after all.

Oh Hey…

Oh hey,

Welcome to my blog.

I guess introductions are in order then, huh.

Well my name is Haley, and I’m the writer of this blog. Or what will be a blog at some point. Right now it’s a little rough around the edges, but stick with me. I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time now for a few reasons.

Reason 1: I enjoy writing purely for fun. I always have. I was that weird kid in school that liked writing essays because it was an excuse to put pen to paper (yes, I’m a little old. We wrote our essays with pen and paper). Once I got into college, I took a few creative writing classes and explored more of my love for writing. And ever since, I’ve been searching for a reason to keep doing it.

When you say “I wanna start a blog”, you kind of have to have an idea of what you actually want to write about. You can’t start a blog without a theme or a topic in mind. And after lots of thinking and brainstorming, I found something that I would be passionate about writing, which brings us to another reason I wanted to start a blog.

Reason 2: There have been many things I have experienced in life that I have looked back on and thought, “wow, I really wish I had been able to read about other peoples exact experience with (insert life event here)”. So that’s exactly what I want to write about. I want to be able to offer others the kind of advice I wish was available to me when I was going through a rough time. And not just the fluffy, positive advice either. I want to be able to give the whole picture, the good and the bad. Being able to recount my experiences, in all their traumatic glory, might help someone out there who is struggling through something I have already gotten past.

So welcome to my blog. I hope you stick around and I hope the type of advice and stories I post will be of some help to you or someone else in your life.

That’s all for now.