Re-Inventing Myself for Year 25

Hi readers!

It’s been a long time since I posted, and believe it or not, a lot more has changed since I received my acceptance letter into graduate school! I landed an amazing job, I re-built my wardrobe so it isn’t just athleisure, and I adopted a furry friend! In addition, I changed my hair style and color, and have been waking up genuinely happy for a consistent period of time (which is probably the longest stretch of waking up geuninely happy I’ve ever experienced). Additionally, I turned another year older, and am officially a quarter of a century old! Many changes have happened, and I’m sure many changes will continue to occur. But I wanted to let you know how my summer has been going, and how these changes have been woven into my day-to-day life.

Let me begin with my job! I am a mental health aide/recovery assistant at a residential eating disorder program for adolescent girls. I’ve been wanting to work at this facility for a year now, and finally landed the job back in May! I have learned A LOT already from working there for two months, and I know my experience at this facility will really benefit me with all of the counseling theory and training I will receive in graduate school. The job is super demanding, and really difficult at times handling so many patients, but I really appreciate my opportunity, and I love the facility I work at because it is absolutely beautiful! As someone who has recovered from anorexia nervosa, this is a very special way for me to utilize my experience with the disease to help young women.

Next, now that I have a full-time job, it has required me to buy clothes that are not just athletic clothing since I am no longer dancing or teaching four times a week. This, in turn, has allowed me to afford buying some new clothes simply for day-to-day, and social outings also, and for once I feel like I have a “style” to the clothing I wear. It’s been really fun playing with prints and colors, and the patients I work with have told me I have a very “bohemian” flare to my style, which is cool! I haven’t been choosing a bohemian style of clothes in particular, but it’s nice to know my clothing has a style coordination of some sort.

On my off days (which are during the week), I have been going down to my family’s beach house and meeting up with my good friend from undergraduate school. We’ve been going to the beach, and the boardwalk, and shopping! It’s been really fun to have some girl time, and also be TAN! I’ve not been this tan in such a long time, and I really love how sunkissed I look nowadays. I think the influx of vitamin D has been helping me feel so happy all of the time!

As you probably saw in my post about graduate school, I dyed my hair red. Then two weeks ago when I got a haircut for the first time since March, I decided to cut my bangs which was also an impulsive decision. But I really love them! I’ve been craving changes, and changing my hair is a really simple, and fun way to do it. I also feel like I’m truly starting to get to know myself in an authentic way, and my hair definitely represents this process.

Probably one of the cooler and more drastic changes I’ve made is I adopted a cat!! She is a tortoise shell colored cat named Sally, and she is super sweet. I’ve only ever owned dogs, so learning cat behavior is a tad anxiety-inducing, but also pretty cool because she is a gorgeous cat, and pretty mild-tempered for being a rescue and never being in a home with dogs before. I am looking forward to getting to know her more and learning her likes and dislikes so she can have a happy, and safe forever home with me.

Finally, I’ve been catching up with a lot of my cousins on my mom’s side of the family, which is awesome because I really enjoy my cousins and wish they lived closer. Most of them live on the West Coast or near the West Coast. But technology and social media have been fun ways to keep in touch and catch up on our lives amid this COVID-19 crisis!

Something else I’ve realized through the last two months was I really am not in the headspace to start dating again. I spent most of 2019 trying to find someone to date, and even had a boyfriend for half of a year, but we were at different points in our lives and decided to end things. I am working full time now, assimilating my rescue cat into my family’s home, and I am going to start graduate school full-time in about six weeks (which means I will have NO days off). On my off time, I want to spend it down the shore, or with my family. I officially deleted all of my dating apps/accounts, and after a year and a half of online disappointments, I am going to give digital dating and dating in general a rest. I’ve realized that being single at 25 years old is pretty “normal”, and I am definitely in no rush to “settle down” or get married.

So, I’m devoting the rest of 2020 (well, indefinitely) to myself and my goals and working hard and saving money. I will practice self-care and have fun when I can have it, and focus on what’s important – my degree and my family and my job. I have a lot of goals, and if someone told me this is what my life would look like at 25, I wouldn’t have believed them. But as I mentioned before, I’ve been waking up genuinely excited for life and happy for the first time in my whole life. I never remember being this consistently happy in my 25 years on this Earth. But who knew through this pandemic and all of these life-altering changes I would find and experience actual happiness for the first time ever?

I hope your summers are going well and hope you are finding joy in every day, and something to be grateful for. Keep working hard, staying positive, and manifesting your goals.

XO

Disney World Christmas!

Hello Leaps readers! It is a beautiful (and freezing) day today, and I wanted to finally let you all in on my amazing trip to Disney World Orlando this past Christmas! My boyfriend’s family paid for me to come with them on their Disney vacation when my boyfriend was home on leave for the holidays, and we had a magical week in the happiest place on Earth!

We flew down to Orlando on Sunday, December 20th. My boyfriend (I’ll call him C) and I sat next to each other on the plane! Not only was this our first vacation together, it was our first plane ride together! It was so much fun to have him there as we flew through the clouds and landed in the most magical place!

We arrived at the Orlando airport, and from there we took our luggage and boarded the Magical Express which took us right to our hotel – the Disney Beach Club Resort! The bus ride took about 30-40 minutes, and when we arrived at our hotel, we checked in and made our way to our beach villa. Our room was amazing! There was a master bedroom and a master bathroom, a living room with a full kitchen and a sleeper sofa, and then another bedroom with a queen sized bed and another sleeper sofa! C and I shared the queen bed, his brother slept on the sleeper sofa, his littler brothers shared the other sleeper sofa, and his parents (obvi) slept in the master bedroom. The whole resort is supposed to be styled after Cape May NJ, and they definitely nailed the whole Jersey beach-town theme (I’m from NJ if you didn’t know that!). It felt just like home.

My boyfriend’s mom did a fantastic job planning this whole vacation, and there was never a dull moment. Between our dining reservations, fast passes, and park-hopper capability, we were bouncing all over Disney World. I haven’t been to Animal or Magic Kingdom since 1998, and I haven’t been to Hollywood Studios since the early 2000s when it was still called MGM. I felt like a little kid, and I was so happy to be there with C and his wonderful family. From the FitBit one of my boyfriend’s little brothers was wearing, we were averaging walking 8 miles a day!

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A picture of all of us in Animal Kingdom

C and I made it to the resort’s gym two of the mornings we were there, and thank goodness we walked so much because we ate SO MUCH FOOD. The Disney dining plan we had allowed us one quick service meal, one sit-down meal, and a snack everyday, and by the end of the trip, we were all so full and sick of eating. Haha, we were all well-fed on this vacation.

During the vacation, I decided my favorite parks have to be Magic Kingdom and Epcot! I had never been to Epcot before, and I loved all of the showcases they have! It’s a little different than the other parks, and I liked how the rides were separate from the World Showcase. I loved the themed and authentic food and beverages served at Epcot – it really felt like we were in those countries! Additionally, in Epcot one of the nights before Christmas, we saw their classic Candlelit Processional, where a huge live choir tells the story of Jesus and sings classic Christmas songs.

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This was taken as we sat down for the Candlelit Processional

Magic Kingdom was also a favorite of mine because I am a Disney kid at the heart, and it really is nothing short of magical ❤ We only had one night in Magic Kingdom, but we spent about six hours that evening!

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Magic Kingdom!

We went to Disney Springs three of the nights we were there as well, and one of those nights we saw Cirque du Soleil! The show was called Nouba, and it was spectacular! The performers were super athletic and graceful, and there wasn’t one moment where we weren’t entertained! Also, one of those three nights we saw Star Wars in the huge AMC theaters. I don’t usually like Sci-Fi, but it was great!

Hollywood Studios was another park we frequented a couple of times, and we were able to see the Osbourne Family Light Show! This was the last year they were doing this light show. Before the lights turned on, Disney announced that the “forecast” said snow, and before you knew it, it was “snowing”! Leave it to Disney to make it snow in 82 degree humid weather! Then, the Trans Siberian Orchestra started playing over the speakers classic Christmas songs, and then whole block lit up in amazing colors!

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Not even a fraction of all the lights!

I have to say, this Disney vacation was definitely one I will remember for the rest of my life. I was able to spend Christmas in Disney (which was a first), and be with the love-of-my-life and his family for this crazy and amazing time of the year. I relished in each moment every day we were there, and I can’t wait for the next time I get to travel with my incredible boyfriend.

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At the Osbourne Light Show.

How was your Christmas? Have you ever been to Disney during the holidays?

My Adventure in Puerto Rico!

TGIF WordPress loves! How has your Friday been? Mine has been pretty boring, other than almost dying trying to get to the Post Office to send my boyfriend a little care package!! Haha, but anyway, I’m procrastinating writing a psychology paper, so I am going to tell you all about my trip to Puerto Rico!

My family and I left on Sunday, October 11. Unfortunately, our plane was two and a half hours late, and I later found out through the news on the television our original jetBlue plane we were supposed to leave on had severe technical issues, and they switched our plane, which then caused every jetBlue flight for the whole day to be switched. Nonetheless, it was the first time I ever flew jetBlue, and I have to say, the seats were pretty roomy! The flight took about four hours, and here is a picture out of my window I took 25 minutes before we landed!

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My view when we were preparing to land in San Juan.

We landed in San Juan around 6:30pm, and we rented a car and drove about an hour east to Fajardo. We checked in to El Conquistador (a Waldorf Astoria resort), and let me tell you all – it was absolutely beautiful!! Not only was it huge, it is tucked into the side of a huge cliff, so the views are absolutely breathtaking. If you stay in the main part of the hotel, you have to take a fun trolley down to the docks, and to get to some of the MANY restaurants the resort offers. Here is a photo from the pool area!

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The view from the pool level.

Then, to get to the beach, you board a ferry boat which travels three miles in the ocean to a private island called Palomino Island! The island is about a mile to two miles around, and guess what? Numerous scenes in the first and second Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed there!! I love me some Jack Sparrow, so I was so excited to be in the same area as my favorite pirate! Here is a glimpse of the beauty that is Palomino Island!

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Only part of Palomino Island!

Not only was the island naturally beautiful, there was so much wildlife! Huge iguanas and roosters were roaming around the island. The island also offers horseback riding, so there were beautiful horses walking around, and in addition there were many hermit crabs of various sizes and conch! The iguanas sort of freaked me out, haha but they were really cool to look at. My family and I even fed one of them a plum.

My family and I stayed for four days and three nights, and spent the last day in El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan). We explored an old military based that was built in the late 1400s, early 1500s, and was used in a lot of wars, including World War I and World War II! I love history, especially learning about the Second World War, so this was really fun for me and my dad and brother (they love history too). It started raining while we were there, but that didn’t stop my brother and I from running around, jumping through windows and places we weren’t supposed to be, and exploring every secret tunnel and lookout.

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Old San Juan Castillo San Cristobal

I ate so much wonderful food while I was in Puerto Rico, and drank many delicious drinks! As I mentioned in a previous post, the drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18, so I was able to indulge in all the benefits of being considered a full adult, haha! I have to say, there was not one meal I had on vacation where I was not completely satisfied. Each meal was incredible, and I ate a lot of fresh seafood! I also have to say, I have always loved sangria, but I had some of the best sangria in Puerto Rico!

I hope you guys enjoyed my recap of my vacation, and I hope you all if you ever decide to travel to Puerto Rico, take a look into El Conquistador! My sister actually found the deal for this vacation on Travel Zoo, so if you are interested, look at Travel Zoo for some deals! It is worth the money, and if you can find a deal like we did, it is totally worth doing even a mini four day vacation like we did.

Studying Palomino Island

I had to bring my textbooks on vacation because I had homework, but what a place to study!