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Monday, December 22, 2014

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year ...


It's been nearly a month since my last post but I'm so glad to say that I'm home for the holidays and halfway finished with law school!  I wrote my last exam on Thursday and went out that night to celebrate a friend's birthday in Hollywood.  It was so much fun but I literally did not sleep as I had an early morning flight to catch.  So, this semester of law school pretty much ended with: all nighter, exam, club, uber, airport.  So exhausting, but I'm not at all complaining.  Also the LA skyline was looking legit, so I had to snap a shot.

When I arrived back in Toronto, I went to the Christmas Market with my sister and her friends. It was so packed since it was the last day and the line was wrapped around the Distillery. Thankfully, a kind man came and let us know that we could enter through the back -- no line! We had a lot of fun there (despite the crowd). I was also able to purchase some mulled wine there, which was really similar to the German glühwein that I made last year for Christmas. It was so delicious and perfect for walking around the market as it was a little brisk out.

I'm so glad that I had the chance to go out and enjoy a bit of my break with friends but I'll probably be spending a significant portion of it working on my article for school and laying low at home with family.  What are all of your plans for the break?  Let me know!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Same Faces Around Me ... With The Same Point of View


I first heard this song the other day when my sis wrote a post about Tori Kelly finally reaching 1,000,000 subscribers.  I already love Tori Kelly, but I instantly fell in love with this song.  There are so many quotes in it that I love ... everything is stated so much more eloquently in this song than I could ever say them:

"All I know is, I'm not meant to be silent,"

It's a typical, chase your dreams type of song. The words probably apply a lot more literally to Tori's life as she is a singer and therefore she quite literally isn't meant to be silent. That said, I just love the thought -- even if you're not quite sure about the path that you're on as long as you're sure enough to know that you're not meant to be silenced, suppressed, or held back in anyway, then you're already making progress. You're already on your way there. You can't be successful until you realize that you weren't meant to be anything short of successful.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Coffee Bar


Sometimes when I don't feel like being productive i.e. studying, I go on Pinterest and look up all the cool home decor posts. I really think that my decor project for the start of 2015 will be a coffee bar.  Really, all you need is a kitchen cart to get started.  Everything that I posted above, with the exception of the espresso machine, is from Ikea- thus pretty inexpensive.

There are no set rules to setting up your coffee bar as I've seen it done so many different ways.  The one recurring theme that I particularly enjoy is the coffee bar with the chalkboard behind it.  I think it's so cute and a really easy DIY.  Literally, all you need is a frame, some chalkboard paint, and sturdy cardboard.

I already have an espresso machine in my kitchen as well as a few mugs, and the milk frothing jug pictured above.  See? I'm nearly there!  I will keep you all posted on my progress and hopefully by the end of January 2015 I'll have it all set up to show you guys!

What have some of your favorite decor ideas been lately?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mini (Living Room) Apartment Tour

I've been meaning to do this for a while (since I moved into my new place a couple of months ago) but I've just been waiting until I finally put everything together. Well, my apartment still isn't totally put together ... so here's a preview of the living room area!

My sister says it looks like I live in an art studio, but personally, I like the way it's coming along. A lot of the stuff in my apartment was either bought at Ikea or the trading post on Fairfax. 

The top photo really just shows my view as I'm sitting on the couch.  I have a little baby television that I will one day upgrade -- but to be honest, I watch so little TV that an upgrade wouldn't even be worth it at this point.  I don't even pay for cable since I'm not home enough to use it.  But I do have a Chromecast that allows me to stream my Netflix onto the television when I'm in a cozy movie mood.  

Due to my law school budget, I decided it would be more fiscally responsible to make my own art. It's been really fun creating my own little pieces and extremely therapeutic! The bigger Amsterdam artwork obviously wasn't painted by me-- it was purchased at Ikea. But most of the smaller ones are my own work, so I'm pretty proud of that.  

I use these two Ikea shelves, that I actually had at my old place in Malibu, as my TV-stand. I'm actually thinking of getting two more to put on top, just so I can give the TV a little more height. For now, this will do. I love the compartments though because it provides more than enough room for my many law school books. Most of my books from this semester are in my car, bedroom etc. So for now, it's mostly just my 1L books on display. 

Also, because it's almost Christmas time (don't judge, yes it is), I threw a few Christmas lights onto the stand, just to add to the mood!

This is my favorite painting that you see right as you come through the door.  It's my favorite for two reasons: first, because Dobby is my all time favorite Harry Potter character (so loyal and true) and second, because I painted it myself and was really happy with how it turned out.  So if ever you come to visit, Dobby will be the first to greet you! If you're a Harry Potter fan at all, then I'm sure I don't have to explain why I chose "free" as the caption for this painting-- RIP Dobby, a free elf!

Below, I have a close up of my "coffee table" which is really just this awesome chest that I bought at the trading post. It was actually brown when I bought it, but I painted it white and I LOVE it. This photo seriously doesn't do it justice but I think it's the coolest thing. It actually does open but I never open it because the one time I did, this creepy photo of a little girl was just laying in there and it was just a horror movie waiting to happen. I didn't want the spirits to come out and get me, so it will just have to remain closed. On top I just have a stack of books, a few family photos in frame, flowers in a vase from Ikea, some candles etc.  Also, I have that giant lock and key thing -- it was also purchased at the trading post!

Finally, this last shot is just my cozy little couch area.  I have two pillows on there right now that do not match or make any sense at all, but that's what we're going with!  I do want to paint a few more pieces to put on the wall behind the couch because it just looks so bare.  I'm just not sure exactly what should go there.  I was thinking perhaps one of those three-piece paintings? If you have any suggestions, seriously, let me know!  

For now, this is my cozy lil apartment/living room/nook -- somewhere in the hills of California :) 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Louisiana Baby

'Bout a week ago, I decided to channel my inner Princess Tiana and cook myself a nice pot of gumbo.  I hadn't had any since I lived in Louisiana in 2012, so this was long overdue. It was my first time making gumbo on my own and I must say, I was rather pleased with the result.  There's nothing you can't do when you set your craving mind to it!

I used Emeril's Gumbo Recipe which was really easy to follow and the process took about 4 hours in total.  The only thing I excluded was the File Powder, as I literally could not find it at any of the grocery stores I went to in Calabasas.  But even without it, the gumbo still turned out just fine and the consistency was still pretty thick, so I don't think it hurt at all.  Of course, gumbo was made to be shared and enjoyed by lots of people, so the one drawback was that I live alone and had soooo much leftover. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it out:


Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil                     1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped onions          1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers         
1/2 cup chopped green onions                                                    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne                 3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Rustic Rub, recipe here if unable to find
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced (andouille or kielbasa)
1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch chunks


Combine the oil and flour in a large cast iron or enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Stir until the roux mixture and water are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Season the chicken with the rub and add to the pot. Simmer for 2 hours. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, green onions, and file powder. Remove the bay leaves and serve in deep bowls.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Choices

An old Cherokee chief told his grandson: "There is a great fight going on inside of all of us. It is a fight between two wolves. One is evil: it is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is good: it is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth." The boy thought about it and he asked his grandfather, "which wolf will win?" The old man quietly replied, "the one you feed."


I remember reading that somewhere a long time ago, but for some reason today, it popped into my mind. This is probably one of the realest messages I've ever come across. We all experience highs and lows in life; this is inevitable. I think that at times, I've looked at other people and wondered why things seem to go so much easier for them. But honestly, no matter how great someone's life may seem from the outside, everyone is facing some kind of battle. Everyone is going through something. I believe that what makes the difference is how you choose to approach each situation. 

If anytime something goes wrong, you dwell on it, and you think about it over and over again ... eventually, that thing will consume you. It's so easy to get lost in all of the negativity, and to self-loathe or feel sorry for yourself. But when you do that, you are feeding the bad wolf. You are feeding the negativity and revolving your life around something that won't bring you happiness or joy. So what's the point? Replaying terrible situations and awful mistakes in your mind won't make them any better. It won't make them go away. You can only fight evil with good. We need to focus on the blessings that we have and channel our energy towards the positive. Be grateful, be honest, be kind. There's a saying that goes "when you've had a bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you." That's really all you can do. Life is full of choices and opportunities. Now is your chance to feed the good wolf!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

1 Thessalonians 4:11

I've loved quotes ever since I was young.  I would seriously fill notebooks with quotes and write them all over my agenda when I was in elementary school. There's just something soothing about knowing that regardless of what you are going through, someone at some point has experienced the same thing.  They don't know you and yet, they understand you.  There are quotes to comfort you, quotes to inspire you, and quotes that just impart wisdom onto you.

This is a Bible quote that I came across and it's really been speaking to me lately.  I am a Christian and so I appreciate many of the teachings, but even if you're not a religious person, there is so much wisdom in that book to be shared.  

This particular quote is simple, but I think it's a lesson we can all take something from.  It's so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing ... to compare your life to someone else's and to lose focus on your own journey.  To me, this is just a simple reminder to focus on myself, let go of the distractions, and to build my own future.  In a way, I think it's just another way of saying "keep your eye on the prize."  Don't involve yourself with anyone else's drama or pettiness.  Don't let anyone pull you into their circus.  If you humbly and quietly continue to work on yourself, to work with your hands, you will be rewarded.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fall Weather

Printed Head Scarf: Ardene, Jacket: Zara Basic, Sneakers: Adidas 

It's finally getting colder here in California and I'm kind of enjoying it.  Don't get me wrong, I love warm weather too-- it's part of the reason I decided to attend law school here. But even so, fall is my favorite season in terms of style.  I'm finally getting to pull out all of my favorite fall clothes, so that makes me pretty happy.

I purchased this windbreaker type jacket in August from Zara and was so excited when the weather cooperated enough to allow me to wear it.  It's the perfect fall color and I feel like it can go with a lot of different things.  It even cinches in at the waist which I love! Unfortunately, I was too lazy to do my hair that day -- but it was nothing a simple headscarf couldn't fix.  Voila!

Oh -- and my other favorite part about the cool weather lately has been all the hot chocolate I now drink at home at night ... with Baileys of course!  Soooo good !

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Coping 101: Nursing the injury back to health

The end of the semester is quickly approaching so I've been trying to crack down on my studies and gather all my notes together etc. before final exams creep up on me.  I've been doing most of my studying at Barnes and Noble lately which makes for a great change of scenery!  I normally have lunch there and then get to work.  For instance, today I had a lovely tartine from Le Pain Quotidien!  Soooo delicious.


Anyway, despite the fact that things haven't been completely going my way lately, I thought I would share some knowledge that I obtained today.  Someone told me an analogy that I thought was really helpful (especially if you're a student-athlete, former-athlete etc).

He told me that sometimes the emotional pains we experience in life are a lot like being injured.  It hurts a lot when it first occurs and it continues to be there and throb for a while.  As much as you wish the injury wasn't there, it is and you can't ignore that injury.  You have to acknowledge it (bandage it up, stitch it up) so that you can start the healing process.  Part of the healing process is giving the fresh injury a moment to just be.  You have to let it do its thing for a while but eventually, you have to know when to move on with life and play through the pain.  People heal at different speeds, so you have to recognize when you're ready.

Playing through the pain is what helps to rehabilitate that injury.  This is what helps you regain your strength.  But even while you're playing, you need to take precautions.  It's a balance.  You can't take the crazy risks that you're used to taking, because you're still healing ... but at the same time ... you can't get back out there and play like your crippled.  Otherwise, you'll just get hurt again.

Either way, step 1 is just acknowledging that the injury is there and not trying to just wish it away.  Acknowledging it won't make it hurt anymore than it already does ... it's actually the first step to feeling better.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Maybe It's Not What You Said Or How You Said It ... Maybe It's WHY You Said It

Sometimes we say things in the moment that we don't mean and sometimes our delivery isn't exactly as graceful as we intended for it to be.  I know that I'm guilty of this.  I've said things that I immediately wished I could take back.  That's why I try not to be too harsh when someone says something and it doesn't come out the right way.  But there are times when even if the person had selected different words or used a different tone, those words would have still been hurtful ... because their message was designed to hurt.

I recently had this happen to me.  Without going into too much detail, I will say that I received a text from a person I really care about ... a guy.  Now, it's hard to explain without offering too much information, but I will try to as best I can:

I was supposed to meet up with him briefly for something.  He replied that we would have to postpone.  I assumed he was tired from working all day.  He proceeded to tell me that actually he was not ... and then without my asking, told me his actual plans for the evening ... with another girl. He was pretty explicit.

First off, I was hurt by the information alone.  I mean, he's free to do what he wants I suppose ... but this wasn't something I necessarily wanted to hear.  He's a smart guy-- he knew that.  He 100% knew that I never wanted to know that information. Which made me wonder: why did he say it? Maybe you  guys can think of a million different reasons ... but the only one I could come up with is, he wanted to hurt me.  I can't help but think that he wanted me to feel something when I read that message and he couldn't have intended for me to feel good. How could that make me feel anything but awful?

I mean, I'm not him ... I'm not in his mind, so I can't dissect why he would want to make me feel a certain way.  I just know that the most important thing isn't what you say or how you say it ... it is always, always WHY.

So I'm opening the question up... please clarify this for me ... because I'm feeling beyond disrespected.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Heart Wants What It Wants

It's hard not to be jealous when you see someone else around the person that you care about. Even if it is nothing, it's impossible to believe that they don't see the amazing things in that person that you see in that person.

I thought of this because I was on my Facebook/Twitter account earlier today and so many people were talking about the new Selena Gomez song (written about Justin Bieber).  There were a lot of comments and questions about how anyone could be so infatuated with a douche like Justin.

I personally don't think it's that difficult of a concept to grasp. When you care about someone, you see the good things.  It doesn't matter whether or not your friends or any other third-party agrees because it's easy to dissect a relationship from the outside, when your feelings aren't the ones involved. When you're in it though, you're invested and no one else's opinion is going to outweigh the way that you feel.

This is why I tend to shy away from convincing my friends (or anyone) to get out of certain relationships. I don't think that telling them how beautiful they are, how they can do better, how there is someone else out there who is perfect, is the solution. I believe everyone has been a stupid relationship at some point or has invested all of their energy into a person who couldn't care less (if you haven't, you will). But even when you're in a stupid relationship, and you know that you're beautiful or that you deserve more ... it doesn't change the fact that you want what you want. You can't talk a person out of their feelings. You just have to let them feel it and hope that those feelings will sort themselves out in due time.

My point is, I don't judge Selena for being a hot ass mess over douche bag Justin. I get it.

Here's the song for anyone who wants to listen ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Yeezus Said It, So It Must Be True !

A friend of mine, from school, showed me this post from ThoughtCatalog and I thought it was pretty hilarious: 38 Times Kanye WestLaw Nailed the Law School Experience. Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows that I love a good Kanye rant.  Apparently, some genius out there has created a legal Kanye parody account. Now, obviously this isn't actually Kanye saying these things ... but it's gold. So if you're in law school or just interested in Kanye WestLaw at all, then I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did!

Here's the link one more time: http://thoughtcatalog.com/aleanbh-ni-chearnaigh/2014/10/38-times-kanye_westlaw-nailed-the-law-school-experience/

And while we're on this Yeezus high, this is also one of my favorite songs right now ... pretty much sums up my life.

"I want to be like Kanye.  I'll be the king of me always-- do what I want I'll have it my way, all day, like Kanye."


Enjoy :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sometimes It's Okay To Be Someone You're Not

Every summer in Toronto (and many other places around the world) there is this giant parade called Caribana/Carnival.  I've secretly always wanted to play Mas and dress up in the parade, but I've never had the chance.

This year for Halloween I decided to be a "Caribana Princess."  This was my way of finally getting that moment-- without having to fly home to Toronto in August for the actual parade.


I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a costume, so I bought supplies from Michaels and made one myself.  It was more challenging than I originally expected, but it worked out rather nicely.  On Halloween night, I ended up going to a friend from law school's house party.  I didn't take too many photos because I was too busy "living in the moment" as my sister Vanessa would put it.  These are a few shots that I did get that night. 

How was your Halloween? Did you dress up?  Where did you go?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"The Shake Back Plan"

No, I haven't been sulking this entire time.  I've actually just been pretty busy being a student.  I am also starting to work on my article for the journal that I'm on for law school.  Surprisingly, writing my journal article is what I've been most excited about lately.  I really love my topic (it has to do with sexual consent laws) and I'm putting a lot of effort into it because I'm hoping to get published.  Other than that, I've had one graded midterm thus far (in my Evidence class) and with only one day of studying, I managed to pull off an A.  It's only worth 20 percent of my grade but it made me feel nice to know that despite all other things, at least my grades are still consistent.

Anyway, as far as 2L summer jobs go, I'm still searching!  Most people in my class are, so I guess I shouldn't be so dramatic about not having one at this point.  I didn't get my so-called "dream job" but it made me think of this post that I wrote a while back.  Sometimes not getting what you want just means that there are better things in store.  I really hope so.

The positive?  I think that interviewing this summer and meeting with all these big firms really helped me realize what I want to do with my legal career.  I'm not saying that I'll be able to do this right away upon graduation, but at least I know now that I really do want to go into employment & labor law.  Specifically, I'd love to work in the healthcare field-- defending doctors and hospitals etc.  Hopefully wherever my path takes me, I end up where I want to be at some point.

A couple of my professors have really been helping me out with letters of recommendation etc. so I'm extremely grateful to have such amazing mentors in my life :)

** Also, I thought I would mention that I started watching Grey's Anatomy a few days ago.  I love Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, so I figured, why not right?  Love it!  I'm only on season 2 but seriously ... such a good show!  Why didn't I start watching sooner? **

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lemon Kale Salad and Salmon

Before anyone is mistaken, no no, I am not turning healthy on you all.  I wouldn't dare.  This actually just happens to be a delicious, quick, and cheap meal.  Seriously, I hate vegetables.  I'm a toddler when it comes to vegetables and I normally do not like the taste of kale.  This however, I can eat.


Also, I must warn you that this isn't a recipe that I found online.  This has been mostly trial and error for me and so when I share this "recipe" be prepared for very vague (zero) measurements as most of what I do is "to taste".

Ingredients:

Kale Salad

Kale (as much as you want to eat)
Lemon juice (I don't juice my own lemons; I buy it in a bottle because I don't have time for that)
Olive oil
Garlic
Three Cheese Blend (romano, parmesan, asiago)

Salmon

Salmon filet
Olive oil (or butter if you want to be unhealthy but a lot more satisfied)
Garlic
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Lemon juice

Directions:

I start off by making the dressing for the kale salad.  Chop up two cloves of garlic into the smallest pieces that you can.  Mix about 1/8 of a cup of olive oil with 1/8 of a cup of lemon juice.  Add chopped garlic to mixture.

Voila!  There's your dressing!

Pour over kale and then sprinkle your cheese on top.


For the salmon.  Heat some butter/olive oil (enough to sauté) in a skillet with two cloves of garlic.  Add the salmon filet to the pan over low heat.  Sprinkle with steak seasoning and squirt some lemon juice onto it for taste.  I normally let it cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Serve with kale salad :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Updates and Setbacks


"Anytime I thought I was being rejected from something good, I realized that God was just redirecting me to something better."

I'm not going to lie.  This is not at all how I feel right now but I just thought I would start this post off with something positive, before I completely undermined the whole thing.  I found out a short while ago (within the past hour) that I did not get an offer at the firm I was really hoping for.  I could fill this post with all sorts of inspirational sayings and stories about how this is just a small hurdle that I'll get over and then great things will happen blah blah blah.  I just don't feel or believe that right now, so I'll spare you guys and myself.

This week just hasn't been the greatest week for me at all ... so I'm pretty down.  Unfortunately, I have a lot of things that I need to get done so it's just one of those moments in life where you have to suck it up and pretend that you're happy just to get through it all.

What does this mean moving forward?  Who knows ... who the hell knows.

It's about 9:30 PM here, so it's a little late for me to shift gears into bounce back mode -- I'll start that in the morning.  For now, I guess I have the night to think of a new game plan?  In either case, I'll leave you with this line from Jhene Aiko whose attitude I appreciate a little more right now.


"I been through some shit man, but I be on my shit man."

No matter what obstacles you're thrown, just remember to always stay on your shit, man.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada but as much as I would love to be there with my family, I am stuck in California studying for my midterms.  I thought about having my own mini Thanksgiving here and then I realized how much work that would be alone.  I opted to do a little baking instead.  Although baking these cookies made me super happy ... I now have about 3 dozen cookies in my kitchen that need eating.


I've really been craving oatmeal chocolate chip cookies lately and found a great recipe online that turned out amazing.  See original source here.

Ingredients:

1 cup of butter (softened)
1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 3/4 cup of flour
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of quick cooking oats
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto un-greased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.  Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


(Also, I should be studying for my Evidence midterm tomorrow ... but there's nothing wrong with a little foodie break. Right?!)



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Organizing My Way Through 2L

Second-year of law school (2L) is so much busier than first-year and I am the absolute worst when it comes to staying organized.  I forget things and I haven't always been the best at time management.  This year I realized that with everything I have going on (sub-checks, journal article deadlines, doctrinal classes, call-backs), I cannot afford to be so unorganized.  One thing that is really helping me stay on top of my tasks is my agenda.  


Like many others, I didn't believe that keeping an actual agenda would make much of a difference.  Between my laptop, smartphone and IPad, I figured that I had more than enough room to write down my tasks and make reminders.  Now I know that there simply is no replacement for an actual written agenda!

Days seem to go by a lot more smoothly when they are planned in advance.  I use the monthly calendar to organize my deadlines and solid dates.  So if I have a paper or an outline due, it's clear to me when I look on the calendar that my time is running out.  


My weekly calendar is what I use to plan out which day I am going to work on a particular assignment.  I also use this part to keep track of my law school reading assignments since those are a lot more frequent.


This little system is working for me so far.  I just make sure to incorporate my agenda into my daily morning routine so that I am never in for a surprise.  I arrive at the law school library early every morning, so that's the time I usually take out to relax, sip my coffee, and go through my agenda.

This isn't a mind blowing discovery by any means but like I said, I'm sure there are others out there like me who doubted just how big of a difference a written agenda makes in terms of organization.

My personal agenda is a Kate Spade one that I picked up at Barnes & Noble.  Like any other bookstore, Barnes & Noble has a huge selection of agendas or calendars and they're reasonably priced.  Also, many of the 2015 agendas actually start from August or September of 2014 so you can pick one up now and use it all the way through the end of next year :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Work It Wednesday: Legal Interview Part 2

Entire Outfit (except for shoes): H&M, Shoes: Zara

This photo is a little bit old, but I realized I haven't done one of these posts in a while.  I stated before that I've been looking for more affordable places to purchase my work/interview/business attire.  This grey suit is actually my favorite suit and I could not believe that I found it at H&M.  I believe the suit only cost me about $60, which is pretty unheard of.  So there you have it!

Also, I should do an update on the job search/interviewing process.  In an earlier post, I talked about how I'd had three big-law firm interviews and that I was crossing my fingers for call-backs.  Well, it turns out that I did get called back for this one firm (the firm that I really really wanted).  Call-back interviews are a lot more intense than the initial screening interviews because instead of just meeting with one or two people, you are interviewed by a mix of about five partners and associates.  It can definitely be very intimidating!

 I was super excited to receive that call-back as this firm is my #1 choice.  Anyway, I completed that call-back interview this past Friday and now I'm just waiting to hear back from them.  I obviously really hope that I land the job, but I don't want to get too excited and get my hopes up because that would just make it hurt that much more if I'm not extended an offer.

If you are the praying/wishing/hoping type, please keep me in your prayers and cross your fingers and toes for me that I land this amazing opportunity.

Other than that, things have been great.  Law school is still law school and I'm just rolling with the waves.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reasons Why I Love Emma Watson

If you know me at all, then you already know that I have been a die-hard PotterHead since I was about 10 years old.  I love all things Harry Potter and I've day-dreamed of being Hermione Granger far too many times.  She was smart, she was courageous, she was sensitive, and I absolutely loved her.  More than my love for Hermione Granger though, is my love for Emma Watson.  Much like her character in the Harry Potter series, Emma Watson is intelligent, outspoken, and wise beyond her years.  Especially after her recent speech at the UN, I thought I would put together a short list of reasons why I love Emma Watson.


(1) She's Educated: I'll just be frank.  A lot of child stars do not take their education seriously.  I mean, I get it ... they already have millions.  But I'm still of the belief that there is no substitute for a well rounded, educated individual.  Emma Watson not only continued her education after completing Harry Potter, but she did so at a world renowned Ivy League university.  She has an eagerness to learn that far too many child actors lack.  This is probably one of the qualities that I respect the most about her.

(2) She's Stunning: Yes, yes, everyone is beautiful in their own way ... but Emma Watson is stunning.  It's always in an almost effortless way.  I understand that she's a celebrity and so there is probably a team of people whose only job is to make her look beautiful, but still ... there's something about her.  She almost reminds me of a modern day Audrey Hepburn.  So classic, chic, and stunning ALL THE TIME.

(3) She Understands Feminism: This is a big one for me, especially in light of semi-recent statements by other questionable people in Hollywood (ahem Shailene Woodley).  I'm not even going to get into the issue of why gender-equality is important.  I think before we can even get to that, we need people to educate themselves and brief themselves on what the word 'feminism' means before they speak on it.  It is not a hostile 'man-hating' word, but an inclusive one that calls into question why so many women are still being denied their basic fundamental rights.  Emma Watson gets it and for that, she gets another gold star.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Do you ever just sit and think about how much your parents have done for you?

For no reason in particular, I spent my morning browsing through old Facebook albums on my computer. While doing this, I stumbled across some photos from my last trip to Haiti in 2013. The pictures were taken in Fonds-Parisien, a small town near the Dominican border, where my father grew up.

Haiti


I remember learning in the 8th grade that Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and that Fonds-Parisien was a poor town, in the poorest country, in the Western Hemisphere. At the time, I was a little embarrassed. Now when I think about it though, among so many other feelings, I feel proud. I am proud of my parents and I am grateful for their journeys.

I was a brat when I was a younger. Don't judge me ... I think even the most humble americanized child will reveal his or her inner brattiness when faced with the daily struggles of living in a 3rd world country. Whenever I visited Haiti, I hated it. I hated the mosquitoes that ate me alive, the non-existent plumbing, the outdoor makeshift communal showers, and the goats that always got a little too close to me for comfort. I was a brat.

As I got older though, I realized that this was the reality for so many people in this world and that many of them would never know of anything different. I also realized that this was my father's reality growing up and that he probably never complained (he's so pleasant).  Further, I realized that I am only one generation removed from this lifestyle. This could have easily been my life.

So why isn't it?

Now I know that it's because God has blessed me with the most amazing, hardworking, selfless set of parents that a girl could ever dream of. I think every parent wants to give their child a better life than they had and my parents have done that and more.

Brooklyn



My parents' successes did not happen over night. They worked really hard in school and eventually they were able to emigrate to Brooklyn, New York. This is a pivotal part of the story because Brooklyn is where I was born (my birth being arguably the greatest thing that ever happened to their lives ... shhh! Don't tell my sisters). They worked smaller jobs in Brooklyn to get by and this city was able to offer more opportunities than any they left behind in Haiti, but still, it was not without its cons.

The area in Brooklyn where we lived wasn't the safest and it can be really really difficult to raise a family and make a decent living in Brooklyn. That being said, after 8 years of living there, they once again emigrated to Toronto, Canada.

Toronto


Toronto is where everything finally began to come together for them. They both continued their education, earning Graduate degrees at their respective universities and were able to have really great careers in both healthcare and finance. When I think about the childhood I had, growing up in Toronto, it seems baffling to me that somehow my parents were able to make so much of the cards they were dealt. I had a really great childhood, in a great neighborhood, with a huge yard to play in and I went to really good schools. I had everything I needed in life and most of what I wanted. When I look at the pictures above, beginning from the town where my father grew up and ending with our neighborhood today, it doesn't seem real to me. It's baffling that someone could make so much out of so little.

I have the utmost respect for my parents and their hard work. They've taught me that I really can accomplish anything I set my mind to and their story is a constant reminder that I have no excuses. They've literally done every possible thing to ensure that my sisters and I could have a decent life and they are the biggest inspirations to me. I can't wait for the day when I can finally say to them "you can stop working now, I got you!"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why Bad Relationships Make You Stronger In The End?

"A woman has got to love a bad man, once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one."


I've been wanting to do a relationship post for quite some time now, but thinking of what to write exactly has been really difficult. Primarily, it's been difficult because I'm a really private person when it comes to that part of my life.  I don't like to share the really good and happy moments on social media or even with the people I'm close to because I have this irrational fear of having to explain to people what happened if something goes wrong.  I also don't like to share the not so pleasant experiences I've had because well, it's not a good thing to air your dirty laundry and I never want to be that person who has nothing but negative things to say about someone she once cared about or dated etc.

In my attempt to find a happy medium, I actually contacted someone from one of the first relationships I've ever had.  Like so many others, what we had started off great but then it got ugly...  really ugly.  We're obviously on much better terms now, but he gave me this idea for a topic.  Without going into the really messy details, here are a few reasons, from my own experience that I feel exemplify why bad relationships make you stronger in the end.

1. The First Cut Is The Deepest 

I would say that this one has been the most significant reason for me.  The first time you are hurt by someone, it doesn't feel like that hurt will ever go away.  I literally remember thinking about this particular guy, "I will never want anybody more than I want him."  Well, I was in high school and that was a lie.  Eventually, you do move on and you find someone else.  It doesn't mean that the next someone won't hurt you too- they probably will!  But the difference is that this time, even when it feels like you'll never be happy again, your rationale will kick in and prove to you that this isn't true.  You can remind yourself that better days will come, because you've been through this before.  You know the drill.

2. You Can Recognize The Signs  

Again, I was really naive the first time I fell "in love."  Of course I'd watched more than my fair share of romantic dramas and comedies growing up, but still ... for some reason I just believed that I would have better luck.  When the person I was with told me he would "never hurt me," I genuinely believed him.  This isn't a joke.  I actually, truly thought that if he said it, he OBVIOUSLY meant it and therefore I was safe.  I'm not that silly anymore.  Now I know that if that person isn't making time for you, they don't care about you.  If you always have to initiate any kind of conversation, they don't really care about you.  If they won't go out of their way to see you and are only willing to come over if they're already in the area, they don't care about you.  Obviously there are more signs than these, but you get the point.  Recognize when the relationship you want is not the relationship you have.

3. You Realize That You Can't Make Someone Care About You (and you respect the realization)

I've been in relationships where I knew that I wasn't a priority in the other person's life ... but I just wanted to hang onto them so badly that I was willing to overlook it.  I'll admit, I've been guilty of thinking that if I change this about myself or do this for them, they'll learn to love me.  This is the absolute worst mind set you can have.  You can't make someone love you.  Period. I know that now.  I know that I'm a great person and that I'm a good person and that I care about people and that I'm nice (sometimes) ... but if someone doesn't love the person I am, nothing I do will change that.  It's better to respect that, because then you can be happy and live your life, not worrying about pleasing that person.  It's way too draining trying to persuade someone to be in love with you.  It takes far less energy to love and appreciate yourself.

4. You Start Embracing All Your Flaws And Quirks

I'm an awkward person.  Especially when I'm around someone that I'm really into... I can't help it.  But that's me and I'm okay with that.  I ask a lot of questions and I ramble at times.  I'm that person who sends three separate texts, instead of combining my thoughts into one. I can be moody a lot of the time.  I bump into things because I'm just not that graceful.  Once, I even walked out of an interview with a "Hello My Name Is: Jennifer" sticker on my butt by accident.  I'm so weird, and I'm also annoying.  But I'm finally okay with it. I had to learn to be okay with me so that I could focus on being the best version of me.  I'm still working on getting better everyday, but I am who God made me.  


What's the point of all of this?  I guess that I've learned over the years that relationships can suck.  I'm going to get hurt a lot, and I've hurt other people as well.  The hurt won't last forever though and it's worth it to hurt a little bit because I really do believe that everything has shaped me into the strange but stronger person that I am.  Maybe one day, I'll find someone just as strange to share this little life with :)


A Wise Lady Once Said ...


“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

- Meryl Streep 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Temecula Monday! Happy Birthday Tasha!

Labor Day was my friend Natasha's actual birthday, so we all drove up to Temecula to spend the day wine tasting and eating delicious foods! Although I love wine, this was my first time going to a vineyard and actually wine tasting. I'm so glad that I was able to experience this with my favorite people. We decided on Ponte Winery for the tasting. This winery was both incredible and affordable!


I actually took this trip very seriously as I needed to find a new favorite wine to drink. After trying six different wines, I selected my two new favorites: Beverino and Vernaccia Nera. The Beverino is kind of a sweet wine while the Vernaccia Nera is a delicious sparkling wine. Both were sooo soo delicious!  


After the tasting, we drove down to Callaway Winery and had dinner at Meritage. The food there was amazing! I ordered the steak fries and I don't regret a single ounce of fat or calorie that came along with it. It was seriously one of the highlights of this trip for me. Also, I had such a good time with my goofy friends. This photo below is one of my favorites because it completely captures the essence of my two good friends, Jill and Rae. 


This next photo is of the birthday girl herself!  It's crazy to think that we've been friends for six years now. We've come along way from taking tequila shots at soccer parties! I'm so blessed to have such amazing friends in my life and look forward to many many more years of nothing but good times!


THEN


NOW


Monday, September 1, 2014

San Diego Sunday

This past weekend, I celebrated one of my good friend's birthday down in San Diego.  We've been friends since undergrad but we live in different states so we don't always get to see each other as much as we'd like.  For that reason,  I was really excited that she chose to celebrate in California! It was a fun filled weekend that fit perfectly into my hectic law school schedule!  I woke up super early on Sunday morning and drove down from LA with my sister.  I hate driving, so anyone that I drive longer than 45 min to see should feel pretty damn loved.


We started off the day by renting some beach cruisers to help us get around the boardwalk.  I must say, I forgot how much of a workout just riding a bike could be.  My legs are slightly sore today but it was so much fun and the bicycles were available in the cutest colors.  We rode around pretty much all day and had lunch on the boardwalk (before taking a LONGGGG nap on the beach).  I did wake up just in time to pose for the ridiculous shot featured below.


Following our beach day, I stumbled across this little coffee place that I absolutely had to go into.  I love coffee (you all know this) and I fell in love with the decor at this little shop.  I went in and tried the caramel buzz coffee, which was pretty impressive.  It was certainly the perfect way to end the day.  Stay tuned for the best part of the trip ... wine tasting !