girl chat episode: 102. do you, boo. 

Have you ever noticed the many memes, Facebook statuses, tweets, books or whatever else telling women how to be women? How to be a queen, classy, a boss, a “Proverbs 31 Woman”, etc.?

These assertions make it seems as if there is only one way to be a woman and that anything else is less than and unworthy. I struggle with this. Clearly, I’m a Christian and I believe wholeheartedly that Jesus is my savior. However, I fall short of the glory daily. Curse words slip through my lips, I go out for drinks with friends and I’m sure my clithing often falls short on the modest level. But I think that’s okay. I don’t think that any of this makes me less of a woman or any less desirable. (Truth be told, I’m sure I wouldn’t want to be with a man who would think less of me because of those things anyway.)

People, women,are complex, multi-faceted individuals. There is no one right way to go about about being a woman. My main focus is on 1) loving God 2)doing things that make me happy and 3) avoiding causing hurt to other people. In my opinion, those are the life principles that we should all strive for. 

Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like unto it. Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets. 

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2016

I realize this post is a tad premature. But as I lay awake I can’t help but reflect on how faithful God has been to me over the course of my life and the last 12 months in particular. This post is important, particularly because people seem to have this warped perception of my life. They seem to think that I’m just living this glamorous  life full of friendship, travel and partying. I am- but no one’s life is without it’s struggles. So for everyone who wrongly assumes that I have it all together, this is for you. 

2015 was a year filled with not only my highest of highs, but my lowest of lows as well. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. But most of all, I praised Him! 

This song got me through so much this year! Without going into too much detail, there were times in the early part of the year where I literally didn’t want to get out of bed because it all just felt like so much. I lost 10lbs over the course of a week because I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything. But I lived through it, grew through it and got through it! I know God only allowed it because he knew I could handle it! I don’t know where I would be without God’s everlasting grace and mercy. I’ve backslid, back flipped and everything in between but through all my imperfection, God has remained faithful and by my side. With all of that being said, 2015 was a year of growth and clarity. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing because my character has strengthened and I’m a better person for all I endured this year. 2015, #25YITM is going to be a tough one to beat! 2016, I’m ready. 

Jesus, thank you for allowing me to be a work in progress yet a masterpiece at the same time. I’m not worthy.

Playing in Puerto Rico, Praying in Thailand pt. 2

My experience in Thailand was once in a lifetime. The spontaneity of booking the trip along with it being my first (of many to come) solo trips definitely added a certain mystique to this trip. It was my first time traveling to Asia as well and I was anxious to see how I would fair.

My flight left at 1am New York time and I was lucky enough to get a row by myself. This made for comfortable sleeping on the flight as well as room to stretch out while enjoying the movie selections. I flew into Taipei, Taiwan where I had a 4 hour layover in the airport. As I got off the plane, I quickly noticed that many of the airport signs were in English as well so it was easy to navigate through the airport. I viewed many of the attractions in the airport including the Hello Kitty waiting area- it was adorable! After that, I settled down and binge watched some Grey’s Anatomy until it was time for my connection.

Day 1

The flight from Taipei to Bangkok wasn’t that long and I was unable to sleep because of my excitement. By the time I landed and hailed a cab to my residence, it was already 3:00pm. There is an 11 hour time difference between Bangkok and NY and I soon began to feel it. However, this was my first day in Bangkok and I didn’t want it to pass without me at least exploring the city for a little bit. My residence (which was fabulous by the way) offered free tuk tuk services to the city’s major attractions. Guest services recommended that I visit Siam Square so I settled on that and went on my way. Siam Square definitely gave me Times Square vibes. There were lots of people there with their cameras snapping selfies (such as myself), tall buildings and many shopping outlets and restaurants. It was a really nice area to get myself acquainted to the city. I treated myself to a gel manicure, did some window shopping and then returned to my residence. I slept for about 4 or 5 hours and woke up starving. I went to guest services and asked for a variety of menus so that I could choose a restaurant to order from. I was so excited to try authentic Thai food! Ironically, the only restaurant that was open was McDonalds. I thought that was cute. lol I ordered food, ate it and quickly fell back asleep.

Day 2

I was more than rested and ready for Day 2. I had already booked a city tour so my day was basically planned out ahead of me. I put on a cute crop top and high-waisted skirt that fell just above my knees. When my driver came to retrieve me he suggested that I change clothes since I would be visiting a temple. I clearly hadn’t thought that through but quickly when to change clothes. I was the first stop on the pickup and as we began to pickup the other tour passengers, I quickly noticed that I was the only solo traveler. Everyone else was with their significant others. This was completely fine with me since the point of me taking this trip was to have some alone time to reflect on my life and where I was headed.

Our first stop on the tour was a visit to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Since I was alone, I got to sit in the front of canoe which had the best view of all of the things for sale as well as the other sights around the piers. The locals were selling everything from religious statutes to fake designer bags to traditional Thai clothing. They would use these long poles with hooks on the end to pull your canoe closer to their goods if they see that you were interested (or not even for that matter). I bought a few trinkets for friends and family members as well as a few cute things for myself (very touristy things). I also noticed many people snapping pictures of me. lol I didn’t mind this too much though.

Our next stop was the Kanchanaburi Tiger Temple. Upon entering, we were escorted to the tiger “attraction.” These creatures are so beautiful! It’s one thing to see their amazing coats in pictures and a completely different thing to see them in person. The orange was probably the most brilliant that I’ve ever seen. The tigers were chained to the ground and were surprisingly at ease while the tourists lined up to pose and take pictures with them. I probably took around 50 or so photos at the direction of the tiger’s keepers. lol I’ll add some at the end of this post. At this point in the trip I was feeling a little friendlier and began to interact with the other people on my tour. I noticed this couple staring and smiling at me a lot earlier during the trip (this tends to happen when you’re alone) so I welcomed their invitation to conversation. They were on vacation from Australia where the woman was from. The man was from Sweden and they had met in Bali and fell in love a few years ago. I thought their story was everything! They were extremely nice as well. There was another young man on the tour who struck up conversation with me so I kind of stuck with him for the rest of the tour. He was a nurse from LA and was just visiting with co-workers. He entered the van with a woman whom I assumed at the time was his girlfriend. It quickly came to my attention that that wasn’t the case at all as we exchanged numbers and we made plans to meet up later that night for drinks at Leuba aka The Hangover Bar.

We indeed met up a few hours later and had a couple drinks before promising to meet up in Phuket where we would all be in a few days.

Days 3-7

The remaining part of the trip was equally as amazing as the prior days. I met some amazing people and some not so amazing people that tested my patience much like I have discussed in prior posts. I figure this post would be too long if I try to go into detail about everything. I visited the temples of Thailans, went rafting, elephant riding and tried more amazing dishes. I also spent a few days in Phuket. Phuket is like a one hour flight from Bangkok and should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list to visit. It has the bluest waters I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. I stayed right across the street from the strip of bars that are dominated by tourists and ping pong shows (which I refrained from seeing). I met two older gentleman who were vacationing from Australia. They, too, thought it their duty to take the young solo traveling woman under their wing. We chatted over beer (courtesy of them) and shared our backgrounds.   I also did a tour of the Phi Phi Islands and was amazed at God’s creation. His grace and mercy never cease to amaze me. Whenever I’m feeling as if life has a hold of me, I look through these pictures and remember just how faithful God is. 

One day it will all make sense. 
   
    
    
 

Playing in Puerto Rico, Praying in Thailand pt. 1

The past few months have been a whirlwind. I completed the New York bar exam, visited family in Florida, partied in New York and Puerto Rico all before embarking on the trip of a lifetime to Thailand. 

After months of procrastination, I finally ended up booking a bar trip. With two of my best friends from law school, we decided on Puerto Rico since it was affordable and easy! Our cell phones and debit cards worked as they would in the states there. We stayed at the Caribe Hilton Resort (bourgeois) in San Juan and lived life to the fullest. It was not all inclusive as those are difficult to come by in San Juan, however our hotel was centrally located between Old San Juan and Condado so it made for easy travel between the areas. Despite a few hours of rain due to a tropical storm, we visited the best restaurants, clubs and beaches. It was the ultimate turn up! My favorite part of the trip had to be the 3 of us singing A Whole New World in the middle (exaggeration) of the ocean. It was absolutely perfect!

The rainforest was closed due to the weather so we are planning a trip back to explore it. Highlights of the trip were Brava Night Club, El Jibarito Reataurant and of course the myriad fantastic beaches. 

Towards the end of Puerto Rico, I was feeling really sad about vacation ending. I knew that I would be starting work soon and my schedule would not be as flexible to travel as I would like. Because of this, I booked a solo trip to Thailand. Stay tuned for pt 2 of my amazing bar trip. 

xx
   
    
 

Tests of Life

Have you ever not realized that you were in the middle of a test until you were halfway through? I’ve long been praying to God for more patience and better conflict handling techniques. I usually take “flight” and this tends to leave the problems unresolved.

Recently, I went on a trip with a person that I couldn’t possibly be more different from. We have different personalities, value systems…just everything. It’s not that we hated each other or that it was impossible for us to get along- it just took some work.

The trip was about a week or so long and I found myself getting annoyed by day 2. I was tired and hungry. Perhaps I even had a slight case of the hangries. Anyway, the person that I was traveling with did not use the manners that I, a southern belle:), was raised to have. I found the person being rude to service people and even snapping at me. It just was not turning out to be a very pleasant experience. This culminated in us having a brief discussion about how things could improve. My travel companion quickly brought things to my attention I was doing that I had been asking God to help deliver me from. I should have been exercising more patience instead of flighting the situation. I was so disappointed in myself. All of the hard work that I had been putting in and here I was repeating the same patterns.

For the next half an hour or so, I prayed and asked God for help. This was a test. A hard one. I began to analyze myself and my own actions as much as I was analyzing my companions. I made a sincere effort for the rest of the trip to be more patient, kind and to let my companion know when they did something that I found completely objectionable. I find it wise to pick your battles when faced with situations like this. Not everything is worth an argument. Through this experience I realized that I don’t have to be comfortable with a person’s actions. Truth be told, they might just decide to continue with their course just to make me uncomfortable; I can’t control that. I can only control myself. Whether I chose to refrain from association with that person or not, I just have to be able to handle myself in a way that honors God and loves unconditionally.

xx

Smoothie 

I’m no Betty Crocker (at least not yet 😉), so my food posts will be far and few between. But I just had to share this neat shortcut for smoothies I learned from one of my friends! 

I’m a snacker so I’ve been trying to find healthier snacking alternatives while I’m couped up in the house studying. After some research I decided to try my hand at making my own smoothies. 

I bought kale, strawberries, mangoes and Greek strawberry yogurt from the grocery store. I evenly divided the strawberries, mangoes and kale into 7 ziplock bags like so. 

  
I put the bags into the freezer so they would freeze (obviously). This negates the necessity of using ice for the smoothies because the frozen produce suffices. 

I used 1 bag and added a half cup of Greek yogurt and a splash of orange juice. I blended everything in my ninja blender until smoothe. This was the outcome.  

 
Healthy, delicious and filling. I can’t wait to try new ingredients! 
Xx

Choose Happy

Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know for all of these things God will bring you to judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9

As are many other things in life, studying for the bar is tough stuff. It’s a most humbling experience. I’m learning things I’ve never learned before and I’m relearning things I feel as if I should remember. I’m not going to lie, I’ve cried several times. I’m my own worst critique and failure or giving up has never been an option for me. I still have a few weeks remaining before I take on Goliath, but in order to keep my spirits up I have found the following Bible verses and extremely helpful. I hope they can touch you in a time of need as well. 

She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Jesus said, “If? There are no ifs among believers!” Mark 9:23

“And surely I am with you, always to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power s made perfect in weakness… 2 Corrinthians 12:9

Have anymore? 

Xx