Don’t Let Your Past Steal Your Present…

So the other night when I couldn’t sleep all I could think of was how I could be writing a really awesome blog post with all my thoughts going on.

But, clearly, it was late and the lights were off and I was under the sheets praying I would doze off soon. Anyway, I got to thinking about some recent events that took place and how the old me would be shaking her head at me but the me now, I just laugh it off–and my friends even cheered for me as I lived through my own silly experiences (that’s what I call them anyway–to some they might be considered mistakes but, in my opinion, everything happens for a reason).

I myself couldn’t even believe what my present self was doing but I realized once my friends pointed it out that I was simply being me–simply being a 25-year-old–it was normal. I am living life with no regrets and on my own terms–doing what I want to and (trying) not to be too concerned with what others think. After all, I am an adult, right? Legally we are deemed an adult at 18 so yeah, that was 7 years ago.

Anyway… Where this thought process is coming from you might be wondering? Well, a few different things. It started with one thing that lead to another thing–quite a big thing, actually, to me–and how as a result I had my grown up epiphany. Sure, I had one a few years ago when I came to terms that everything happens for a reason but this time, the present me, could accept what was really happening for what it really was–and not what I wanted it to be.

It started out at a birthday party…

I knew my ex would be there. I didn’t think much of it other than he probably wouldn’t speak to me (as he hadn’t in the past on the rare occasion we were in a place with mutual friends). But even though I knew he’d be there and I assumed he knew I would be there, I wasn’t sure how either of us would act. I knew it was better to act polite and not say anything at all rather than accidentally say something that comes off as rude or something.

So I get to dinner and we’re sitting diagonally from each other. It was slightly awkward–mostly I think because I made it so–I avoided looking over that way, but as the night went on, I couldn’t help but think how silly this whole thing was. I kept thinking, really, it’s been OVER four years–we’re both adults now–I think the least we can do is be CIVIL. Right? Well, I let the dinner continue as it was, and then the “awkwardness” there was I let linger back to my cousin’s house where my ex and I Just stood on opposite sides of the room and didn’t speak. I would have spoken sooner but the truth is, I didn’t know what to say. I mean really, what do you say to someone, someone you used to be in love with and dated for 3 1/2 years after basically not speaking for over 4 years? I mean, really?

pastfuture

Anyway… We pregamed at my cousin’s house for a bit and finally made our way downtown to the bar. Still at the bar, my ex appeared to be stand-offish (but maybe that’s just the vibe I personally was getting) and being really quiet. Finally, I couldn’t handle it anymore–it was just too weird. So, I mustered up the courage and maturity to ask him, “Hey, how’s it going?” From there I thought the rest of the night went great.

Even after that, we hung out and caught up about our lives over the past couple of years and it was fine, it was great. I felt like a new leaf had truly turned as we were talking as just friends and like we didn’t have this dramatic past. Not that we both didn’t know it had actually happened but, in that moment, we were able to be mature about it and say it just didn’t work out but that we were both happy for each other now.

Of course after that, without going into too much detail here, I think we both came to realize that we probably can’t be friends. After all, we haven’t spoken to each other in over a week and the last time we talked I just got this bad vibe. I’m not really sure what exactly happened, but, despite the fact we may not talk again, I do feel better–I feel as I got some type of closure on my behalf that I felt in a way I never got four years ago and deep down needed. But it’s funny–some were worried I might go back to my old ways with him–which I suppose I could have but, at the same time I am more confident in saying that when one door closes, another one opens. And, when that one door closes, you leave it closed. So, we may never talk–and yeah it sucks, and that COULD change (never say never), where we can talk and be cordial or friends again but for now, I must leave the door to that conversation and experience closed. If it opens again it’s for a reason. But for now, it’s also closed for a reason.

I share this because I myself know and have seen how much I have grown up since that first heartbreak of mine. My closest friends and of course my family, saw how much it tore me apart. And I won’t lie that it did. I found it embarrassing at first but, you know what, I’m the type of woman who would rather have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I think everyone at some point experiences a serious heartbreak–whether it’s their first or fifth. I don’t regret us falling apart and breaking up because I learned a lot from that relationship and about not only what I want and don’t want in a future boyfriend (turned husband) but about myself. I’ve grown up not just physically but emotionally. I definitely would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for that tried-and-failed relationship, as well as other tried-and-failed mistakes. Not to say that relationship was a mistake but rather a lesson learned. I’ve learned other things outside of my relationship the hard way and while it has sucked and made me mad, sad and unhappy–I realize it happened for a reason and I am who I am today because of those experiences.

Some people might frown upon my mistakes or not approve of the decisions I make in life but, I am 25-years-old and that’s what part of my job in life is to do–live, make mistakes, and learn from them. Sure, I was taught a lot of things, if not, EVERYTHING, from my parents about how to AVOID mistakes but, I’m only human and that’s what we humans do. And I won’t apologize it. For those who have a problem with how I live my life well, that’s their problem–not mine.

Sure, I may still live at home, be single and spend too much money on clothes. Which, really, I probably shouldn’t be announcing to the world but you know what, it won’t last forever. This is a phase of my life (the living at home and being single–the money/clothes thing is my own issue) and someday I’ll be in a different one.

A lot of times I put this immense amount of pressure on myself to not live at home or be single since a lot of other people my age and that I personally know are out on their own and dating or getting engaged and married and even having kids.

It’s funny though, a certain someone, like the certain someone above, said we probably couldn’t date again anyway because I don’t want kids. Well, I’ve been adamant about that for a long time, and say it repeatedly any time someone mentions kids (their own, hell), but, like so many people continue to tell me–MAYBE, just MAYBE, one day I’ll change my mind. Not that I would change my mind just for this certain someone but, for me, right now, at this very point in my life–I have other priorities. I have my own plan/dreams/goals that I want to reach–I want to establish myself in my career and save up to eventually move out on my own and along the way start settling down with someone–date someone exclusively. I am the type of woman where I want to be exclusive with one man–not go out on “dates” with several different men. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that by any means but I’m just not that type of person. I’m too awkward for that, LOL. I just need someone who can handle and admire my awkwardness for what it is AND also accept my “unique” family. LOL! 😉 We’re not your typical family–far from it–and someone has to be pretty damn awesome and willing to accept that. 🙂

So I guess for now I’ll continue doing what I am doing… Being thankful I have a job, even if it’s not my final career goal, have awesome friends who support me and my crazy adventures/experiences and don’t judge (lol) and have an AMAZING family who could NEVER be replaced–and also don’t judge.

I’ve made mistakes, and I’ll continue as I continue living this life of mine but, at the end of the day, it’s really only MY opinion that matters of myself. Am I right?

Anyway…

Just had some random thoughts I wanted to share in hopes in that maybe some way others could relate to it but, even if it not, I still got it off my chest.

So until next time…

XOXO,

-Ana

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There Is Always Something To Be Thankful For…

November is the month of Thanksgiving.

So in honor of turkey day coming up at the end of this month and remembering what Thanksgiving is truly about, I want to share about the people in my life and why I am thankful for each and every one of them.

This past weekend, Halloween specifically, served as a reminder as to why I am truly blessed with the family I have. We may not be perfect–we may act a little nutty at times–and we may not see eye-to-eye on every thing but, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade any member of my family for the world. After how all, how boring would life be if we all got along every minute of every day? Agh, I can’t even imagine, LOL.

So let me first share why I am thankful for my family

Thankful-Printable

….  Also, I would like to point out that November is National Adoption Month, so it makes this month and post even more special and sentimental. 🙂

Why I am thankful for….

My mom and dad: Well, if weren’t for them I wouldn’t know what having loving parents feels like, or have shelter and the basic necessities of life. If it weren’t for both of them, I would not be the woman I am today. I’ll admit, I definitely don’t say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ anywhere near enough, but, I am so beyond blessed to call them my mom and dad more than they will ever know. They taught me everything I know–well, maybe not spelling, LOL, but just about everything else. But the one, single most important thing they’ve taught me is to NEVER give up. I’ve had countless times where I said I give up, I’m throwing in the towel, but, they told me to keep pushing myself and eventually, what’s meant to be will find its way. I will never be able to thank them for everything they have done, do now an will continue to do–and I can only hope then that I make them proud. Thank you, mom and dad, for being the absolute best parents in the world. I love you both more than words could ever explain. Just always remember that–even though, you know, I am a brat most of the time. LOL. It’s how I show my love. Plus. some parts of my personality/behavior come from BOTH of you. I.e. My OCD-like behavior comes from mom, and my “truck driver” mouth as you, mom, call it (lol), I would say I get from dad. That, and he and I both watch shows you consider “scary/gross” like Criminal Minds. Love you both!

My brother Tom: I don’t normally post sappy/sentimental posts about my siblings individually but, considering this is a month to be even more thankful than normal, I will share why my brother means so much to me. I can’t imagine having a different “Tom” for a brother. Sure, when he and I were younger we would argue the most but now that we’re older we hardly ever fight. Mom and dad think we’re fighting sometimes but most of the time we’re joking. Honestly, our relationship and interaction is quoting Mean Girls and other movies. I couldn’t imagine doing that with anyone else. I am proud and thankful to have Tom as my brother because he is hardworking and dedicated person. He’s also extremely caring and protective–especially when it comes to this family. I love you big bro–even though sometimes we do really fight and I yell how much I can’t stand you–know at the end of the day that I love you and wouldn’t trade you for anyone else!

My brother Adam: We’ve never been one to fight majorly, except on some certain occasions (lol), which I will not go into detail about, but, Adam, he’s like no other. Of course I mean that in a good way. Even though we don’t always see eye to eye on things, the one thing I admire and look up to him for is always standing up for what he believes in, being a hard worker and not taking people’s bullshit. He’s not only smart, but he’s extremely loyal both to this family and even his closest friends–who he treats just like his own family. He’s always there to listen when I ask him for advice, even though most of the time i do the opposite, lol, I know he means well with what he says and only wants what’s best for me. Plus, he surprised me a couple months ago when he told me how well he knows me–and that family is everything to me. Oh, he got me that time. But that’s because he’s that amazing of a big brother. Love you!

My brother Kyung-Hong: Where do I even begin? There aren’t enough words to explain how incredibly grateful I am to have you in my life as a brother. Even though you haven’t lived close (enough) to us in awhile,  you are never truly that far away. I love that I can always count on you, whether it’s a phone call or text, when I need advice or to vent. In fact, I miss our late night chats when you come to visit. Of course, times have changed since we were younger and you have Yoomi, Calvin and Genette, and most of the time I am out with my friends when you’re here 😦 but, it doesn’t mean I love you any less. You are truly an inspiration to me. It’s so amazing to see you follow through and achieve your dream of owning your own dental practice. I can only hope to one day do the same–achieve my dream of working in the news/journalism field with my dream/right-fit-for-me position. I love you so much and am so, so blessed and thankful to call you my big brother.

My sister MicheleWell, for starters, thanks to you I have great hair AND great teeth. LOL. But beyond that, I am thankful you’re my sister because (in my opinion), like Adam, you don’t put up with other people’s bullshit. You’re extremely caring and protective of not only your own family but mom and dad and us siblings as well. Plus, I’m thankful for you putting up with my shenanigans like when I called you late at night and made you come over when I was crying over a certain boy. LOL. Good times, right? I’m thankful you live down the street from us so I can see you, Robert and the kids often–not everyone is so lucky to have their sister/bro-in-law/niece and nephew live so close to them. 🙂 I am thankful for all the times we get to share together–especially up north and our bond over coffee and the grumpy guy at Starbucks. LOL! Even though there’s a whole 19 years age difference between us, I’m glad you’re my sister. Plus, you’re also one of two of my favorite gingers so there ya go! 😉 Love you!

My sister Sheila: The one thing I admire about you is you will go above and beyond for your kids. You will do absolutely anything to make sure they are protected and don’t have to put up with what they don’t deserve. I’m thankful you’re my sister because if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have done as well with my math classes or classes that involved creative projects without your help. (Remember the Buddha in high school?) And like Michele, you’re protective of our WHOLE family, not just your own kids and Lon. I appreciate the fact you would do anything for any single one of us. Plus, you as a sister you give tough love–and by that, you tell me the truth, even though it may not always be what I want to hear–like when I dated a certain someone and I so badly wanted it to work and you told me it just simply wasn’t meant to me and I could do better. I didn’t appreciate it back then but looking back, I see you were right and I am glad I have siblings who care enough to tell me the cold hard truth that they know will truly benefit me and pay off in the end. Thank you!

After explaining why I am thankful for my parents and siblings, I would list every single niece and nephew I have but then this blog post would seriously go on for literally ever. But, I am VERY MUCH THANKFUL to have the BEAUTIFUL nieces and nephews I do. I can’t imagine life without any of them them. Plus, as much as I say now how I don’t ever want kids (but my whole family is adamant I’ll change my mind), I know I would be okay with not having any because I have so many wonderful nieces and nephews (AND two GREAT-nieces) to keep me occupied. 😉 So, I am incredibly thankful for my siblings for allowing me to be an aunt. Being an aunt is truly one of the best things in the world. 🙂

I am of course also extremely grateful for my (maternal) grandparents (and my paternal grandparents as well–even though they’ve passed, I know they’re always here in spirit <3) who are both still alive and are always around. I am thankful and incredibly blessed they are still here and doing just dandy in life. I’m even more thankful they were both able to see me achieve a huge accomplishment of mine–walking across the stage at CMU to receive my Bachelor of Science degree last December. It means the world to me to have them here for both the BIG AND LITTLE moments. I cherish every single time I get to spend with them. ❤

AND of course I am thankful for my brother/sister-in-laws and extended family like my aunts, uncles and cousins. ❤ ❤ ❤

Now to give thanks to some of my best friends… Obviously aside from my family, I have NO idea what in the world I would do without the following people in my life. We’ve experienced good times obviously, but, we’ve also experienced some tough times and it was through those our friendship(s) became even stronger. I can’t imagine not having these friends as a support system. These are the friends who I consider like family who have been there since day one of our friendship.

Erin: You are my number one, ride-or-die best friend in the entire world. My other half. ❤ I honestly am so blessed to have you as a friend and share a special bond (being adopted) and you standing up for me in the second grade when some kids were not being so nice about me being adopted. I don’t know what I would without you in my life. And even though you ended up moving two hours away in the third grade, our friendship withstood that. Not all friends can manage long-distance friendships but we’ve managed to do it for years now and for that I am proud and grateful. We never let distance, new friends, time, work or anything else get in between us. And even though now it seems like sometimes we go TOO long without seeing each other, we are always able to pick up where we left off. I would really be lost without you and I can’t wait to see you as my maid of honor one day when I get married. Love you so much, best friend!

Sarahann a.k.a “SarahAnn The Wonderful” a.k.a. “SA”: I can’t even begin to explain what it means to have you in my life as a best friend. I am so incredibly thankful we met and became friends in junior high. There is NEVER a dull time between us and we are always laughing at such random things. We can be silly with each other, but, you’re also the friend who lends a listening ear or shoulder to cry on if needed. You are the definition of a true friend and I am thankful everyday we have never once grown apart. I am also thankful for you and the others for sticking with me literally through thick and thin–like a time ago when I sacrificed my friend for a boy–you all were still there at the end and for that I will be forever grateful to all of you for that. Not all friends would do that and so that just goes to show what amazing friends I have. Thank you for being you and for being such an amazing person and friend all these years. Here’s to endless more years of friendship.

Maria: First off, lucky us for being able to be neighbors. YAY! Second off, you are not only an incredible person but you are a STRONG person. I would have never thought we as a group of friends (and of course your family) would have to endure such a difficult situation of you getting cancer in high school, but I believe our friendship is even stronger because of it. I can’t imagine a life without you in it because you are truly an amazing person. You have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know and that isn’t always easy to come across in people. I love that we can trade clothes with each other and all cry with each other when we’ve had a bit too much to drink (i.e. Heidee and April’s apartment bathroom, LOL) and always pick up where we left off. While you no longer live in town, like I just said–we’re always able to pick right back up and for that I am thankful. Thank you for being such a great friend. I can’t wait to experience so many more memories with as we grow old together–because yes, we WILL grow old together–all of us. 😉

Cassie: You are truly one of a kind. I mean that in a good way too! I wouldn’t get nearly as many laughs in my life if it weren’t for you. You are always cracking jokes and being sarcastic and I of course believe every word you say. LOL. Plus we take awesome selfies together and say “Bye Felicia” on a frequent occasion. HA! But you are truly an amazing person on the inside and out and you too have a big heart that cares so much for others, which is what I appreciate most about you. I can’t imagine knowing another girl with your personality because there can only be ONE Cassie B. 😉 Thank you for showing me what a true friend is over the years I can’t wait to see what crazy new memories we make in the future. ❤

Ashley a.k.a. my “little” (sister): Oh my…. Where to begin? You are truly one of the most phenomenal people I have ever met. I knew the second I met you and realize you loved Disney that I wanted YOU to be MY little. I was going to freak and be super sad if we weren’t matched up. You’re truly the peanut butter to my jelly, cheese to my macaroni, milk to my cookie, spring in my step, flip to my flop… You get the idea, right? You are truly a beautiful person on the inside and an even more beautiful SOUL. You go above and beyond for everyone you know and you would give the world to make others around you happy. I love you so much and am so thankful you were chosen as my little sister–the one I never had but am thankful I do now. You are one of a kind and if there’s any advice I could give to you should you ever doubt yourself (not that you should) is: “NEVER LET ANYONE DULL YOUR SPARKLE.” It’s a quote I love and like to live by because you should always strive to do what’s best for YOU. I love you and am so thankful to have you in my life. Together forever, never apart. Maybe in distance, but never at heart. 

Kayla: It’s crazy to think that your original choice was to attend WMU instead of CMU but boy am I sure glad you made the change. I am so happy I was able to experience college with you by being roomies. I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. Even though I am super sad you don’t live here anymore, I am SO, SO incredibly proud of you for following your dreams and creating your own life in TN. Plus, even though you live in a different state, at least it’s a cool one that I always look forward to coming to visit. LOL. I know you’re already doing big things but I have no doubt you’ll do even bigger things in the future and that is something I admire a lot. Thank you for being not only a wonderful roommate all those years at CMU but for being an AMAZING friend. I look back on our memories together and they are all happy, funny memories. Like “Quivers” for example. Oh, our many inside jokes. HAHA! I look forward to making even more memories together when we see each other here or there.

Courtney: Words cannot explain how thankful I am to have you AND Kennedy in my life. We’ve been best friends sixth grade and who would have thought we would be where we are today? 🙂 I admire you so much for being a positive role model to Kennedy and doing everything you can to make sure she’s taken care of. You are amazing mother and I am so proud of you for that. I am also proud and thankful to call you one of my best friends forever–and I’m super happy we’ll now live closer together. 🙂 Thank you for being such a wonderful, amazing friend and even more so, just a wonderful, amazing person in general. Never forget how strong, amazing, awesome and fabulous you are either! Can’t wait to see what memories we continue to make in the future!

Alison: We’ve known each other forever and while as we’ve gotten older we haven’t been able to hang out as much, I do and will always consider you one of my best friends. I am so thankful our brothers met and became friends so we could become friends. So many of my childhood memories involve you since we lived down thee street from each other. I have had too many laughs to count with you (and even your family–and going on vacations together; what fun!) and I am so thankful to have you in my life. Plus, I am also incredibly honored you asked me to be a part of your and Ryan’s special day next year. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and what new memories we’ll make. I love you (and Ryan) both and I can’t wait to stand by your side during one of the best moments of your life. Thank you for being such an incredible friend. ❤ ❤ ❤

Okay, I could literally go on and on with a list of my friends who I am thankful for but, honestly, my fingers hurt from typing. LOL.

But, to all of my friends who weren’t specifically named (and you know who you are…. I hope!), know I appreciate my friendship with each and every one of you. We may not see each other/hang out or talk to each other as often as we like (adult life, ya know), but know I am extremely blessed to have you all in my life. Don’t forget that either. Love you guys!

So tell me… What are YOU thankful for this month? In general?

Feel free to comment and share.

Until next time…

XOXO,

Ana

You only fail when you stop trying…

Hello!

I meant to update this last week and then I kept using “I’m tired” as an excuse to not do it but really, I was just being lazy. Oops!

Anyway, I am back with an update since my last post to let you all know how my first couple weeks, actually, almost a whole month, has been at WILX.

So, I had just about one week of training when I was expected to produce on my own.

It was overwhelming, and a lot to learn, but I am grateful to have such helpful co-workers who want to see me succeed.

The first show, obviously, had some hiccups, and even the shows after that, but since then I have been non-stop taking notes and taking everything in.

I can’t help but feel this is still a dream.

It seemed like so much longer than a year I was waiting for my “dream job” and then finally the day come.

To some, their major they study in college is just something they either merely “like” or think will make them a lot of money.

Now I’m not saying that’s the case for everyone. For me, it definitely wasn’t.

Journalism, for as long as I can remember, has been an extreme passion of mine.

I’ve always had an innate curiosity for news, whether local, national, or international, as well as a curiosity for people’s stories in general.

I can’t pinpoint the exact point when I became so in love and passionate about the industry but since then, I’ve never thought about studying anything else.

Well, okay, that’s not entirely true… During the period I was applying for jobs and thought at times I would never get one, I thought I had maybe picked the wrong major.

But, ultimately, as I sit here, I can’t help but be glad, happy, that I chose this major and never gave up on my dream of working in the news industry.

It’s refreshing to be surrounded by like-minded people who share the same passion about news.

Because I am working in the industry I am most passionate about it makes me that much more determined and motivated to do well, work hard, and eventually–hopefully–become full-time.

I want to stay in this area, my hometown, and grow and learn with some of the best–people who I’ve long admired from watching in the comfort of my own home for years.

I know I still have a lot to learn, even though I’ve already learned so much, and know I will still make mistakes along the way… But, I am thankful to have a team of people who want me to succeed and do well and are willing to help me do so.

Anyway…

If you’re an early bird or even if you’re not and have DVR, be sure to tune in or set your DVR to 7 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday on WILX to see my newscast I produce.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana

Why I Wear Yellow

In honor of Suicide Prevention Week (although it technically ended yesterday), I thought I would share a column I wrote for Central Michigan Life back in 2012. It’s about what it was like losing someone who I looked up to as a role model to suicide when I was just 10-years-old.

Gone too soon are words that play in my mind when I think of someone who was like another older sister to me and committed suicide.

I was 10 years old when one of my sister’s best friends, Patty, took her own life.

They had met through working together as orthodontists, and Patty became someone I came to not only respect but look up to. She was a role model for me.

I share this story, because after attending the new registered student organization Yellow Ribbon’s first meeting Monday, it made me realize just how many people have attempted or know someone who has attempted or committed suicide. I realized I am not alone in dealing with this kind of experience.

Being that young when Patty died was something I couldn’t, and still cannot to this day, wrap my mind around. As I was talking with other members of Yellow Ribbon, we discussed the stigma with suicide and the mental illnesses related to it.

Even though I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why Patty did what she did, I know there must have been something deeper  going on than what she told people up front, something she didn’t think she could get help for.

But I wish she had.

I hear people say, “Why can’t someone just get over it?” It isn’t that simple. I know from having friends and family with mental illnesses that it isn’t always easy to reach out for help and overcome, especially when it’s expected of them to just brush it off.

I think some people are afraid to reach out for help in fear of the person they reached out to not taking them seriously.

I have had other people in my life, aside from Patty, who have expressed feelings of depression or shared thoughts of suicide. Some have actually attempted it, and I wish there was more I could personally do.

I know all I can do is offer love and support. I am not a professional, so I can’t tell people how to overcome their obstacles, but I can guide them in the right direction to get the professional help they need.

I still wish Patty could have seen in herself what I saw in her — a beautiful, caring and smart woman who was appreciated and loved by many. I wish that at even 10 years old, there was something I could have said or done to make her change her mind. If she was here today, I would tell her just how much I admired her.

After the meeting, I was already looking forward to what is next. I can’t wait to see the work Yellow Ribbon does in spreading the message to have more open communication about suicide and its prevention.

After all, yellow is more than just a color.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana

She believed she could, so she did…

Last week I received a phone call that would be the phone call I had been waiting on for just over a year.

In August 2014 I received my Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. It was more than a major I studied but an extreme passion of mine. I couldn’t wait to see what job opportunity would be awaiting for me once I received that official piece of paper and started applying for my dream job.

Well, it turns out, landing my dream job would take much longer than I anticipated. I applied anywhere and everywhere I could think of. At first I limited it to just Michigan but then after some time I decided to apply outside of Michigan as well. But, as more time went on I decided that I in fact DID want to STAY in Michigan. After all, I grew up here, most of my family lives here, and I just like Michigan.

After three months of having graduated I finally landed a job at Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry. I was ecstatic, especially since I love jewelry (and later on became OBSESSED with Alex and Ani). I worked there until July of this year when deep down I knew my one and true passion was to work in the news industry. I enjoyed my time at BBK and definitely learned a lot, especially about great customer service, but, I knew I wanted to focus on pursuing a journalism job. While my ultimate goal was to work in the news industry, I knew that was probably going to take some time, again, to land so I decided to apply and work at Bath and Body Works in the mean time to focus on gaining sales experience. I had gained some while at BBK, but, I wanted to expand on it at BBW. After being at BBW for little bit, I learned I was accepted into an internship program at HOMTV in Okemos. I was beyond excited, thrilled, and couldn’t wait to start. I was going to be a social media/promotions intern and I knew this experience would help me in the long run. But, little did I know, I would later have to respectfully rescind my acceptance.

A week ago on Wednesday was when I received the call I was being offered the job of news assistant/producer at WILX in Lansing. I kid you not as soon as I got off the phone I was jumping up and down freaking out. I couldn’t believe it and was BEYOND excited that my dreams of working in a newsroom were FINALLY coming true. During the phone call I immediately said yes before Kevin, the news director, could even finish explaining the details. He even paused for a minute to say how agreeable I was being. I told him I had been waiting for over a year for someone to give me a chance to get my foot in the door. He said, well, now you have your foot in the door. I couldn’t stop smiling after I got off the phone. I was on cloud nine.

He asked if I could start one week from that day and I of course said yes. So here I am on my second day of work and I still can’t believe it. It’s an incredible feeling working in the field I am most passionate about and to be surrounded by people who share the same passion for news.

While this journey took a long time (to me anyway) and at times I wanted to throw in the towel and say “forget it”, I’m certainly glad I didn’t. And I didn’t because of the constant and continued support from my family, friends and colleagues. And after experiencing it myself, I’m telling you, to whoever is reading this and still waiting to land their dream job: DON’T GIVE UP. It can be easy to want to but, like so many people told me, something WILL come along. So hang in there, and don’t stop trying. You never know when you’ll get that dream offer via phone call or email. 🙂

As I continue to learn I will be trying my best to blog about my experience on a daily or weekly basis. As you know, I LOVE to write and being able to share my experience working at WILX is a great way to showcase that love.

Also, before I end this post, I must give a shout out to a former WILX member for being an inspiration and a huge reason I wanted to work here. I can’t wait to learn from the best and showcase what I learn. So thank you, for the advice and support along the way to landing this job. It’s nice to know I can now call you a colleague.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana 

Advice for incoming freshmen preparing for college…

Six years ago I was packing up everything I could fit into suitcases, bags and boxes to get ready for the move up to Mount Pleasant, Michigan. It would be a matter of days before I began my first day of my first semester at Central Michigan University. I was sad to be leaving behind my friends and even more so, my family, but I also couldn’t wait for what was ahead for me. As a new school year is set to begin for returning college students and a brand new, first school year for incoming freshmen, I thought I would share some ways you can prepare yourself for that transition.

  1. Buy a planner/get one for free at campus (at CMU they gave them away)
    I can’t stress the importance of a planner enough. Some students may think they have a great memory, which they might, but between everything else that goes on at college (football games, parties, extra-curriculars) it can be tough to remember what day and for what class you have an upcoming exam for or project due. I had a planner and I used it all the time–l used it so often that I did color-coding with pens and highlighters. I was a bit obsessive. You don’t have to be as obsessive as I was but it is definitely handy to have a planner to write down important dates and meetings.
  2. Make sure your classes don’t overlap/make sure you have enough time to get between classes
    While some professors simply don’t care or have the attention span to notice if you’re absent from class, others do, and will even even just tardies against you if you make being late become a habit. In college it isn’t required for you to go to class like it was in high school and before that, but, when you don’t show up it will inevitably hurt you. Most of the classes I took the professor offered 3 unexcused absences before he/she started counting them against you. Although some professors don’t even allow that. So be sure to plan your classes accordingly and actually GO to them ALL the time.
  3. Invest in a few staple pieces of clothing
    I’m not saying you need to dress up fancy for every single class–and you can actually even go in pajamas if you wish (I never did, but, to each their own)–but, you’ll be happy you wore something other than fuzzy printed pajama pants for your solo or group presentation and/or club meeting(s), etc.
  4. Talk with your roommate(s) to make sure you don’t end up with doubles of items in the dorm room 
    You don’t need more than one microwave, mini-fridge, shower curtain, shower caddy, multiple lamps etc. Plus, checking in with your roommates before gives you the chance to get to know them a bit before sharing the same corridor with them.
  5. Take the time to walk around campus before classes start
    Depending on the size of your campus and number of classes you’re taking you’ll be thankful in the end if you spent time prior to classes starting getting to know the layout of the campus.
  6. Read the syllabus for your classes
    As crazy as it may sound, some professors post the syllabus for his/her class several weeks in advance. It’ll have important information such as if a textbook is required, office days/hours, exam dates, etc. Plus, if you have that planner I mentioned earlier, you can write it all down so it’s easily accessible later on.
  7. Do proper grocery shopping
    It can be easy to get caught up eating Ramen noodles and leftovers from the night before, but, trust me that there will be times you wish you were eating a home cooked meal, especially when it’s still a ways from a holiday break when you can actually go home for a properly cooked meal. It’s fine to indulge in junk food every once in awhile (or more than that for me, oops) but freshman 15 is real if you let it be. 😉 Also, like #4, be sure to talk with your roommate(s), if you wish, to decide what you guys will be sharing/buying or not sharing/buying so you don’t have doubles of everything or eat food that isn’t meant for the other. Set some ground “rules”, if you wish.
  8. Bring sentiments from home but, don’t go overboard
    Depending how far you live from your college and how often you plan on going home, it could be a few months before you see your friends and family again so it’s important to bring items/pictures that you remind you of them until you get to see them again. Pictures are always a great choice and also can serve as decor, or something small like a trinket. For example, my grandma bought me a tiny giraffe trinket to remind me of her because her favorite animal is a giraffe. 🙂 It was the perfect treasure.
  9. Take advantage of the various events held before classes start–they tend to give away FREE stuff. And who doesn’t love free stuff?
    At CMU they have different events that give away freebies like planners, coupons, etc. (I can’t think of specifics right now, lol, sorry) and like I said, who doesn’t love free stuff? Plus, it’s a great way to meet other students who will be there and make plans for welcome weekend.
  10. Don’t forget to fit in fun along the way
    Obviously your main goal in college is to be successful and pass your classes and eventually graduate, but, don’t forget to fit in some fun along the way. And as the saying goes, “If it’s something you’ll regret in the morning, sleep late.”

Tell me, what advice do YOU have for incoming freshmen/returning students at college? I know I didn’t add everything they should know but, I tried to highlight what I personally thought were the most important. In the end, regardless of how much or little you are prepared for college, enjoy every single moment because it truly does go by in the blink of an eye–even for me, who was in college an extra year beyond the traditional four.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana

To travel is to live…

Wanderlust: A strong desire to travel

It’s my last day in California and while it’ll have been a brief stay, I am already wondering when I can make another trip out here.

Back at the end of January/early February a conversation was struck up between old friends. I didn’t realize that just a few months later I would be flying across the country, alone, to visit this friend.

I’ve traveled by myself to Tennessee before, which was no biggie, considering who I was going to visit was my roommate in college for four years. But this time, getting on a plane to head thousands of miles away, I felt a little, well, nervous. 

Don’t get me wrong, I was super thrilled and excited to come out here but I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous. But that feeling went away as soon as I set my eyes to the gorgeous scenery awaiting for me outside of the plane. In that instant I knew this was going to be a trip for the books.
The scenery/land here in California are like nothing I have never seen before. It truly is stunning and breathtaking. Now unfortunately with the state being in a drought, everything is brown, but nonetheless, still beautiful.

 

Nate took us on a scenic drive today and I wish I could take the views home with me. It’s that amazing. So many vineyards, hills, pretty landscaping. So much to take in, it was hard to know at times where to look. 

On Friday when I arrived we went to the Walt Disney Family Museum and San Francisco. The WDFM was awesome! As a huge Disney fan it was cool to learn more about Walt Disney and his family, along with his vision to make Disney World and Disneyland what it is today. After the museum we headed to Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. We walked around, ate lunch and did some shopping. I even found a little California souvenir license plate with “Ana” on it. My one “big”, “tourist-y” purchase but well worth it, lol. Oh, and I totally got to ride on the Golden Gate Bridge and it was so awesome! Happy I can check that off my bucket list! 

  

 We also walked by a cupcake shop that I of course had to try. I love my cupcakes. Plus, they had the cute little pink boxes and you know if they come in a pink box they’re bound to me good. Okay, maybe that’s just me, but still. I got a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter ganache frosting and it was DELICIOUS! Kara’s Cupcakes knows what’s up. 

At Fisherman’s Wharf they also had a Madame Tussaud’s wax museum and while we didn’t actually go through it, there were wax figures of Beyoncé, Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio outside to take pictures with. I was so excited! I’ve always wanted to see the wax figures in person and that fact that I did was awesome.

  
There were a lot of people at Fisherman’s Wharf and lots of camera shops, which was just an observation I happened to notice and I thought was kind of strange. But, I guess people do still use cameras to take pictures, not just their cell phones. Ha ha. 

Another observation I noticed are…

– Starbucks are a plenty around here

– People love their In-And-Out Burger

– Mexican restaurants on what seems like every corner (my kind of city!!)

– You have to PAY for your shopping bag at most stores here if you buy something. If not, you end up like me at the Disney store walking out with my t-shirt and receipt in hand. 

– The bathroom stalls at the Oakland airport are nice and ROOMY! (It’s the little things that excite me, lol)

– The sales tax here is higher than ours, ouch.

– People driving motorcycles are allowed to pass other vehicles via in the middle of the lane–looks scary, I wouldn’t dare try to do that

There’s probably more but I can’t think of any off the top of my head so moving along…

  
Yesterday we went wine tasting and it was so much fun. The woman serving us has been at that vineyard for just four months but with how knowledgable she was I was impressed. There’s a lot to know I feel like. But she knew her stuff and even explained to me what the difference between “dry” and “sweet” were since when people ask what kind of wine I like I just say I like ALL and ANY. (Side note: My sisters and aunt are probably shaking their heads right now over me not knowing the difference, LOL)

  
After that vineyard we went downtown and ate lunch (can’t recall the name right now) and ordered a flight of beer. Yeah, not the best idea because I was so tired after that. But, I hung in there and after we ate lunch we stopped by a restaurant called Barn Diva where Nate’s friend works at. They have mixed drinks there like none I have ever had before but boy were they good. Plus, we basically had the place to ourselves since they were closed and had a wedding going on. Of course those drinks only made me more tired but I hung in there the best I could, lol.

After that we walked around for a bit more and then came back to the apartment. Later we ended up going to La Rosa, a Mexican restaurant, where I had a burrito with, get this, FRENCH FRIES in it. Talk about beat of both worlds. I love me my carbs and potatoes. 🙂 Their chips and salsa were on point too, delicious!

Once we got done with dinner we met up with Nate’s friend from earlier, Chris, and got drinks at Bear Republic Brewing Company. So Nate told me this is THE place for people to hang on any given night. I was still surprised to see there was a line and while I am not one to wait in lines (I’m so impatient) I was pleased we did because the beer was so worth it. Something worth mentioning… I’m definitely not used to drinking “good” beer back home–I always stick to my usual Bud Light (lol)–and so having all of these IPAs caught up with me quick. Still had a fun time though and glad I got to meet and hang out with Nate’s friends.

Today was fun being able to simply enjoy the scenery and check out another winery. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to since I felt a tad hungover from last night (oops) but a little hair of the dog seemed to go the trick. As did the In-And-Out Burger I had.

So, I guess In-And-Out Burger is like THE fast food place to eat here in California? Or maybe just Santa Rosa, but, the place was packed and there were cars wrapped around the building for drive through. My verdict: it was good but not a place I would spend that much time waiting for to go to. But maybe don’t listen to my verdict since I’m not even a burger person to begin with so… Moving along…

Oh, so there was a shop nearby I found out that sells Alex and Ani and while I didn’t want to buy them elsewhere, I couldn’t pass the opportunity up, especially since they had some really cute beaded ones that are being discontinued. Sales people know how to get me to buy–discontinuing, you say? I’ll take them! 😉

An unexpected but nice surprise after that was getting to meet Nate’s parents and grandparents, and finding out his sister is engaged. His family was so sweet, they treated us to ice cream and his grandma had me cracking up. They were all very sweet and it was a pleasure to meet them.

That was a wrap up of the day today since Nate has a rehearsal for his play to go to tonight and poor kid is driving me to the airport super duper early tomorrow. Yikes! I’m bummed to have to leave, although I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. So hopefully it’s smooth sailing tomorrow and I get home at a decent time so I can get some sleep. There’s a three hour time difference between here and Michigan so that’s cutting into my sleep schedule, lol.

But anyway… I’m definitely going to be coming out here again because like I said it’s so beautiful and I just want to experience what not only this state offers but this country too.

Well, better get to making sure I have everything I brought with me here packed and ready to go home.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana