Being A Journalist Not Majoring in Journalism |Going Back To My Second Love

I haven’t been on a plane since I went to Europe my junior year of high school, which was also the last time I traveled “solo” — except I wasn’t really “alone,” per se. Nevertheless, I was extremely anxious. But, as I watched the watercolor skies slowly turn to darkness, I had old-English poetry and the latest issue of Vogue. 

The trip was an adventure for self-discovery (while getting shin splints just from walking places — my luck). But particularly self-discovery as a journalist.

*By the way, this is the College Media Association 2017 Conference I’m talking about.*

Either way, I learned a lot from the conference. I have my trusty red Moleskin internship/journalism journal to prove it. I learned to manage a magazine, how to come up with features stories, going from journalist to novelist, investigative storytelling, social media tips, and more!

I might as well mention that there is a role I have reprised. When I was younger, I loved fashion, but I never quite figured out how exactly I was going to thrive in that field. But now that I’ve been exposed to great minds, I answered that little 16-year-old’s prayers. I decided I want if I want to be a well-rounded journalist, I have to dip my toes in everything, and that includes…

FASHION!!!

I can remember fourth grade and in newspaper club, the one thing I wanted to write about was fashion. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what I wrote, but I’m sure I wrote something about my favorite things back then: sequins, hair clips, and ballet flats. God only knows what I wrote about boys fashion. Let’s just say I’m sticking to writing about women’s fashion.

I wrote a poem about my mild hatred for the topic, saying I “sold my soul to the devil,” just like Andie in The Devil Wears Prada. So, who knows how long this fad will continue? Maybe I’m better off writing about features and political affairs. My goal is to work for the Washington Post or The New York Times. But it’s true when Hanna Marin from Pretty Little Liars said to Aria’s mom on the night of her remarriage to Aria’s dad, people take a break and go back to their first love. But I’m not talking about romance. Let’s put it this way: writing was my first love, fashion was the second.

I’ve been in a rut lately, both emotionally and in terms of my education. I’ve been missing my old school, lately. Don’t get me wrong, I love RWU, but I can’t help but think of the stuff that I could’ve done at my old school whether that be at the Institute of Politics or the women’s collective I was going to start. Yes, I wrote a poem about all that, too. No, I am not changing my major (again). After a talk with my mom, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m sticking with creative writing while getting as much journalistic experience as I can. Whatever happened to my broadcasting career? Okay, I stuttered a lot, but I still found it fun to be in front of a camera and babbling about whatever topic I had in mind.

My point? You can major in any English subject and still be a journalist! But it’s going to take a lot to build up my journalistic resume. I’m planning on getting an internship next summer, oh, and did I mention I’m now a Style Guru Community Member for College Fashionista? Funny how life works out. ☺

One of my friends said I need a life outside writing, and I can’t be on social media all the time (checking blog statistics, retouching my Instagram, and what-not). I’m thinking… broadcasting again? You won’t find out until next semester!

 

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FASHION AMBITION: Vintage Denim On Denim

Hey everyone, long time no talk! I know what you’re thinking of this title: April’s doing fashion now? What about her sit-down talks? Didn’t she go to Dallas? Why isn’t she talking about that? Well, 1) I’m going to 2) those will still happen and 3) yes, I have had an interest in fashion for a really long time, I’m just now turning it into something I’m passionate about — journalism. I realized during my trip to Dallas how much I loved fashion, and fall is a great time for fashion, as you all know. But, as it is now slowly turning to winter, I have to adjust my fashion choices in the morning (just by simply adding a cute jacket).

I tried this look via Refinery29. Most people who try denim on denim end up in disaster. Plus, when most people think of denim on denim, they automatically think of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears circa 2003:

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But, I learned a couple of ways in which you can pull it off, especially if you want to achieve the “vintage” look. So, I chose my trusty basic black shirt as a way to “break it up.” You want a little sleeve showing. I knew it needed something else, like a pop of color. I rummaged through my jewelry to find this one unique piece I bought at the Louvre in Paris. Yes, it’s actually from Paris. But it doesn’t have to be from another country to be spectacular. Your next best accessory? A pair of earbuds or headphones! Finally, I paired the ensemble with black booties.

The finished product…

On top of it all, get a dog who loves you enough to put paw prints all over your jeans!

Sooo what’d you think of my first segment of “Fashion Ambition???”

I can’t exactly put any links to my outfit pieces, but this should be an easy look to recreate on your own!

P.S. I promise I’ll put up a sit-down post about my trip to Dallas/what I’ve learned soon ☺

What’s In My Backpack?

What’s up, A(pril)-listers? April here, and I’m going to show you a glimpse of this ‘busy girl life’ of mine!

A college girl is never complete without her necessities. Where does she keep them? Why, in her backpack, of course!

I was inspired by internet sensation, Katy Bellotte’s, YouTube video on what she carries in her college bag and what classes she is taking this spring 2018 semester. I was originally going to make this a CollegeFashionista article, but I thought I’d get up-close-and-personal with you guys on my blog, instead. I’m trying to build my fashion/lifestyle “brand,” after all!

Without further ado, here is what’s in my backpack:

To begin with, I might as well show you how big my backpack is. It has numerous pockets for my needs, so I never run out of space to put my things.

 

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Sidenote: my bag is by Kenneth Cole Reaction.

Now, let’s get down to business as to what a busy girl, like myself, carries in her backpack to survive throughout the day!

1.) Inspiration

image1 (12) One can use a little fashion inspiration wherever they go. I love to get my outfit/health/fitness inspo from magazines like Seventeen, Vogue, Teen Vogue, or Vanity Fair. 

2.) Wallet(s) and earphones

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My little furry sidekick, Sassy, obviously wanted to be in the pic XD. What a little diva! Anyway, one of my wallets isn’t big enough, so I carry two Coach wallets (both were gifts). One is for various types of cards, and the other is just simply for money (and used Starbucks gift cards, lol!). And when I pop in those earphones and play my workout playlist or any of my bangin’ Pandora stations, I feel unstoppable and I feel like I’m in a movie.

3.) Notebook(s) and planner

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As Katy Bellotte said in her video, “A person is only as good as their planner.” I agree with that wholeheartedly. I bought my planner at the RWU bookstore and it’s by Vera Bradley (as are the notebooks pictured above). I like how my planner comes with it’s own special “bookmark” and keeps tabs of the months. It also comes with little stickers that say “haircut,” “appointment,” “doctor,” “girls’ night out,” etc. So cute!

You might be wondering what classes I’m taking. If not, I’m going to tell you, anyways. I’m taking Literary Publishing, Form in Poetry, Marketing Principles, Public Speaking, and Literary Philosophy. I absolutely love my classes, oh, and for those of you wondering (or are new here), I’m a Creative Writing major with a minor in Arts Management at RWU.

*Not included in this post, but I also carry numerous textbooks with me… I’m a huuuuge nerd!*

4.) Lipsticks, gloss, and chapstick

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I carry not one, but four things of lip-wear in my front pocket. First, I have two lipsticks. The dark lip is totally in right now, and I love a bold lip color. One of them is a mauve (my new favorite color), and the other is “Gone Griege” (brown). But I tend to use one or the other when I feel like dressing up. For those of you who’ve seen me on campus, I’ve been going for the active look. So with that, I go for my pumpkin spice chapstick. Now, in terms of my lip gloss, I don’t like to wear it all that much, but when I do, I pair it with a more neutral lipstick shade.

5.) Pens, pens, and more pens!

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I recently got felt-tip pens for Christmas, and I’m absolutely obsessed with them! One can never go wrong with a great pen. There’s something about a really good pen that makes your words flow better on paper. For my creative writing classes, I like to use my purple pen because the purple is the color of creativity. I like to use my orange pen for my marketing class — it just has that “vibe,” you know?

***Things that are not listed that I keep in my backpack:

  • laptop
  • phone and laptop chargers

— must haves!!

#Stayorganized #StayCLASSy

xoxo, April ♥

 

 

Fitness, Fashion, and Time Management

Back by popular demand! Thanks to one of my good friends at RWU, I finally figured out what I wanted to write about after a month’s hiatus.

Where do I begin? Well, put simply, I’m on cloud 9! I finished my first semester at RWU with a 3.665 GPA (and made Dean’s List for the second time in my overall college career!), and I recently made some changes in my lifestyle. In my freshman year of college when I was writing for The Odyssey Online, I wrote an article about my struggles with body image in eighth grade and during my first couple of years of college. I didn’t like my puffy face in pictures anymore and I often found myself looking at old pictures of me in high school when I was in my prime fitness. I found myself body-shaming myself. That’s when I said, “enough is enough!” and started back at my local gym again, and even got myself a personal trainer. I’ve learned over time that if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen. I began stocking up on fruits, vegetables, and protein shake mix. You know you’re getting old when you get excited about going grocery shopping! X-D

I’ve heard about this program for a while, and I recently decided to give it a try. It’s called 1st Phorm where you get to sign up and get free access to workouts, diet plans, etc. In my two weeks of utilizing the program, I’ve been feeling (and looking) leaner, and more confident. *Insert Demi Lovato’s song here.*

When I look back on my high school track & field/cross country days, I made the connection that working out also helps me concentrate on my school work. When I first came to RWU, I wasn’t working out and I was eating pizza and diet coke every day… NOT GOOD!!! Plus, I was busy with tutoring and editing, but that’s still no excuse! We all come up with excuses for not paying attention to our well-being. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things in life. That means fueling your body with proper nutrients and getting enough physical activity, no matter what it is. As Elle Woods said, “exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” I also took a couple of pages out of a People magazine about women who, literally, lost half their weight. One woman said that she is teaching her kids that food is meant to be a source of fuel and not a means of happiness. But, of course, food can make you happy, especially when you’re hangry. So, don’t punish yourself when you slip in a cookie, or something — OWN IT! Everybody deserves a break, right?

Another thing I really got into during my time at RWU was fashion. As some of you know, I was recently appointed Style Guru for College Fashionista! So, if you’ve seen me hashtagging #stylegurulove and #gettingsomewhere, they’re affiliated with that platform. I’ve gotten excellent tips on acing an interview, and of course, fashion advice. I am sort of correlating my new ~healthy lifestyle~ with fashion.

As seen on (both) my Instagram(s):

 

I’ll let you guys in on a little secret; I’m always in for a good bargain. So, I occasionally buy my leggings/tops at WalMart, and recently (as in an hour ago) Fabletics. Both places/brands have really cute stuff! My blue leggings even have pockets 😮 Another site I discovered is RainbowShops.com (their leggings are less than $10!). As you can tell, I’m addicted to leggings!

In terms of time management, I’ve learned to really “schedule out my schedule” and prioritize my health and my school work at the same time. I don’t have my own car, and I have late classes Mondays and Wednesdays, so I use the time in between getting my ride home and in between my earlier classes to do homework, tutor, and workout.

Here’s an example of what my schedule looks like:

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This will be a busy semester, for sure! But I’m determined to make Dean’s List for a third, fourth, fifth time and get leaner and stronger. *Insert muscle emoji here*

Self-Reliance Being Put To Use: A Semester In Review

I have at least eight drafts that I want to write, but, unfortunately, they’re not the right ones. I just finished my first semester at RWU, and so much is going through my mind: a sense of accomplishment, a sense of fulfillment, and a sense of gratitude. Transferring was something I thought long and hard about, and I have had some instances of regret. But all in all, I think I made the right choice.

While I was making the decision to transfer, I was also going through a mental breakdown that, as you all know, landed me in the hospital. I still wanted to go back to school so I could get my bachelor’s and lead a somewhat normal life. Even my psychiatrist and therapist said to me, “you’re going back to school after all that!? Wow!”

There were a lot of reasons why I decided to transfer. But while I was looking at schools in Rhode Island, I realized I wanted a program that was writing-oriented. When I looked at RWU, I saw they had a creative writing program. I knew I wanted a seaside education, too, with access to everything. So, I thought that RWU was perfect for me.

Here are my top ten highlights from this semester:

1.)  Being appointed Features Editor of the Hawks’ Herald

2.)  Being a Writing Tutor

3.)  Going to Dallas

4.)  Writing two of the best short stories I’ll probably ever write

5.)  Writing countless articles

6.)  Joining Writers’ Anonymous

…………… and I’m sure there will be more to actually make it a “top ten.” I have more tricks up my sleeve to make Spring 2018 an even better semester!

I took my last final today. It was for Early American Literature: Pre-Columbus. As I was doing some last-minute cramming in the library, I looked to my left and saw Mount Hope Bridge (another perk). Throughout the course, we studied romantics and transcendentalists like my literary husband, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was a student of Emerson’s. Emerson, if you’ve ever taken American Literature in high school, wrote Self-Reliance. Self-Reliance is basically about being a non-conformist and forming your own opinions. Thoreau took this to heart and thought he would give this a try. He had his own garden in a tiny house by the water. I realized before writing this post that I am basically living that phenomenon at RWU and at home. It’s nice to write knowing you’re by the water.

Conformity is slow suicide. If there’s one thing I learned is to find your niche. And I’ll leave it at that. I’m still trying to relearn who I am, but I think I’m getting there.

 

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Happy Holidays! #stayfierce ♥

In Case You Lose Hope | Always Try to Help

October 10th was World Mental Health Day. So naturally, I posted a picture of myself from the month of March — the month of my mental breakdown. Just to debrief for those of you who haven’t seen it: I’ve been struggling with anxiety my whole life, was diagnosed with depression at 15, and was diagnosed with PTSD last spring.

I’m not here to “fish for compliments,” but rather to say that there’s no shame in being vulnerable. I’m not ashamed of telling my story because it’s a story of how I kept fighting. I knew going back to school was going to be difficult. I’m always tired, and sometimes I find it hard to keep going. But really, getting the education and experience that I have now is all I’ve ever dreamed of.

Now, I’m going to share with you another story that’s not mine, but a story that did give me hope. This is a story my dad’s oncologist shared with me. This is one of the top oncologists in Massachusetts, if not the nation, and she took time out her busy day with patients and a family of her own to write out this story in an email. It went a little something like this:

“After some prompting, your dad did share with me that you transfered to Roger Williams. I also ask about you and how you are doing at Saint A’s. I could tell he was concerned about something. As his doctor, I encouraged him to open up a little but so he did confide to me that you had gotten sick and were in the hospital. I was sorry to hear that for both of you. Any kind of illness is a difficult thing. Certainly your dad knows that first hand.

I relayed to him a story about one of my other patients and her daughter. I have known both of them for 20 years. The daughter was just a toddler when her mother got cancer. Mom is doing great. The daughter grew up to be a lovely young woman. She went to Wellesley College where she excelled. After graduation she got a great job in Boston and an apartment with her friends. Then everything fell apart for her. I can still remember the email I received from her mom, so worried about what was happening. We got her daughter in to a good medical-mental health care. With some time and and medication adjustment she got better. She just graduated from BU with a Master’s Degree and has a wonderful boyfriend.”

She told my dad this because when you are in the midst of something like this, it’s scary for everyone. Sometimes it feels eternal and hopeless as if it will never get better. But her job is to preach over and over to her patients to take things one day at a time. At times, it may seem like hard work, but you have to keep at it. The same thing is true for my Creative Writing studies, editing for the paper, and so much more. My dad’s doctor reminded me that I, too, have supportive parents as I’m making my way down recovery road.

Someday when I have a publishing career or writing/editing for Vanity Fair, I hope I can take the time to write to someone, or, even better, help someone when I can.

I guess I didn’t preach this when I talked about my hospital stay, but mental illness isn’t one of those things you can’t power through on your own.

Moral of the story: never be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and there’s always time to help someone else out.

Did you know my goal going into college was to become a doctor? Yeah, things change, and that’s a fact. But I still want to impact people with my writing (but that’s another blog post). ☺

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My Own ‘Silver Lining’s Playbook’

“All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

So it’s been, what? A month since I posted? Well, sorr-ay for living my best life! I just started at my new school, and it’s been treating me wonderfully thus far. I’m going to start off by announcing that I am the new Features Editor for my school newspaper! My dream of being an editor is slowly coming true. Being an editor has taught me so much: 1) how to manage my time 2) how to be more creative 3) people skills 4) how to use InDesign (which I’ll probably use in the future) and 5) how to be relentless (in a good way). My section is already thriving with features like “club of the week,” “biweekly series: commuter issues,” and — coming soon — “Bristol businesses and RWU students.” Another thing: I’ve really gotten into American Literature and fashion. Fashion is something I’ve always been into, but there was a time when I considered fashion as a potential career.

I’m just going to keep this short and to-the-point. This is where I say I’ve found my “silver lining.” In my own version of Silver Lining’s Playbook, a girl dealing with mental illness discovers her dream/passion: editing. When I was in the hospital, one of my fellow inpatients told me I should become an editor, and that’s when I said, “he’s right.” I was a writing tutor at my previous college, and I reprised that role at my new school. I realized how much more knowledge and appreciation I’ve gained for the English language. I’ve come through the dark clouds into the bright light that silver linings represent, and while silver linings are not without their challenges, I drew strength from that silver lining to meet those challenges. I wish you all Godspeed in finding all of your silver linings — let me know when you do!

xoxo April

Regretting Regret

In life, there are going to be things we regret. I regret not taking a certain class in my senior year of high school, not choosing the right major until about a year later, the list goes on. While meditating yesterday, the little voice coming from my phone was talking about regret. Though I wanted to achieve the concept of zen — unbothered and untouched, I couldn’t help but feel irritated, if not infuriated at the thought of past relationships.

I don’t know why (blame it on biology), I just develop feelings for guys who are interested in me at first but then end up dumping me for whatever reason. Two breakups made me think, “were they ever really attracted to me? Or did they just go with it?”

Talking about relationships trigger me in a sense because I’m realizing now that I’ve always been the one to say “I like you” first. No guy has ever asked me to be their girlfriend. In a way, that has made me feel “ugly.” As a result, it tries to take everything out of me and makes me feel unworthy.

There’s this one poem by Rupi Kaur from Milk and Honey:

“he only whispers i love you 

as he slips his hands

down the waistband 

of your pants

this is where you must

understand the difference 

between want and need

you may want that boy

but you certainly 

don’t need him.”

That’s right, honey, you have to be the one to say they’re unworthy of your time and attention. You are not a weak cup of coffee, you are a strong Colombian coffee. Last night I saw this post on Facebook shared by one of my friends:

“You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t have value more than you value yourself.” – Toni Morrison, Sound of Solomon

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times over the course of your life, but God really does come in mysterious ways. This morning during my meditation, I’ve come across the theme of forgiveness. The little voice coming from my phone told me to think of a time when I experienced hurt — naturally, I thought of my previous relationships, and I bet anyone listening to that meditation would think the same.

“What did you feel?”

“Where did you feel it?”

“Was it a sinking feeling?”

“Did your heart tighten?”

“Did your shoulders fold inwards?”

But most importantly, how can you forgive yourself in addition to forgiving others? What would you say to yourself? In that moment, I thought of the great philosopher, HelloKaty saying, “You are not watered-down tequila, you are Patrón!”

Additionally, I learned from The Bachelorette (a show I’d never thought I’d watch), that you have to be selfish sometimes and with that, I’ve learned to forgive myself for feeling hurt, upset, etc. even my regrets. It’s all part of our humanity. Those of us who have those feelings, recognize them, own them, and move on are in a lot healthier state than those who pretend not to have any feelings, at all.

Never Settle | Getting Out Of Your Own Way And Upsetting The Balance

“We know what we deserve. We’re not stupid, but we accept something to not upset the balance.” – Unknown

My whole life my goal was to be “different” and to upset this so-called balance. Even when I was a little high school fashionista, my goal to get into the fashion industry was to start out in retail. So, when I was 16 and 17 years old, I applied to stores like Forever 21 only to find out that they accepted applications from prospects 18 and older. At the time, people my age were babysitting or working at grocery stores. I- I was already learning about marketing research (thanks to my mother). Yes, I was ambitious then — insanely ambitious, maybe a little too ambitious when applying for colleges, however.

Moreover, now a newly-minted 21-year-old, I’m looking for more than just a job. I’m looking for an internship with a book publisher. Plus, my mom signed us both up to go to a marketing event. Who knows what will come out of that? We’ll see within a week or so. I just need something that’s a) worth my time and b) will make me happy. I need something that I’ll look forward to when I wake up in the morning — something that will make my heart sing.

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams” – Maya Mendoza

In other words, never settle for anything that’s going to get in the way of what you really want. It’s like I learned when I was in the hospital: “Get Out Of Your Own Way.” In all honesty, I felt like my life in New Hampshire was so limited of opportunity. There is no doubt that I experimented with different career paths, from healthcare to writing to social work then back to writing. I always came back to writing. Now that I’ll be in Rhode Island full-time, this is my chance to be a more complete version of myself.

 

Why I’m Glad I Stayed In Rhode Island

“Sometimes to chase after your future, you have to stop running and plant yourself in one place. Take a stand and fight for what you want. And know that even after the darkest of nights, the dawn will come. And you will find a place where you don’t have to hide. A place to call home.” – Carrie Bradshaw, The Carrie Diaries

Carrie Bradshaw (the AnnaSophia Robb portrayal) says this after she decides not to go to Malibu with Sebastian. As I approach my 21st birthday, I’m starting to realize all that I’ve been through this past semester. Sure, it didn’t go as planned — nothing ever does! I’ve been places, I’ve seen/tried new things, met new people, and I’m transferring to a new college to pursue a degree in Creative Writing — all because I stayed in Rhode Island to fight for my life and for what I want. Rhode Island has become my adopted home, and I feel like I’ve been living here forever. And since living here, I’ve discovered the things that are worth standing up and fighting for.

I was originally going to write about how to achieve a healthier lifestyle, but I decided to save that for a Her Culture article. After finishing The Carrie Diaries on Netflix, I naturally sobbed… in the corner of a coffee shop lounge because I’m just sooo subtle, right? I started to think about my own future. My heart, right now, is settled in Rhode Island. I’m determined to make a name for myself instead of feeling like I have to be somebody else. As much as I love the city, I find more comfort by the water. But I’ll get to the city someday (but hopefully to New York or Boston for grad school).

This involved some bittersweet sacrifices. On Sunday, I said “that’s a wrap, SAC!” and proceeded to crying on the way home while listening to “I’ll always remember you,” “Wherever I go,” you know, those Hannah Montana songs that are bound to make you shed a tear or two (or a million). But, as a writer, I must say, when a chapter ends, you start another one because my story isn’t over yet, as said on my tattoo. This is when my mom would say, April, snap out of it, you’re going to see your friends over the summer. Well, some people are worth crying in the car for. ☺

I’m going to be 100% candid here, as always, and confess that I never thought I would make it to 21 years old. I first said this when I was 18 and at my lowest point. Well guess what? I’m turning 21 towards the end of the month, and my future is already looking up. I’ve had meetings with Creative Writing professors at my new college (whom are very accomplished, I still can’t get over the fact that I’ll be working with them for the next three years), and I’m in the process of applying to summer publishing internships. In fact, I’m being considered for a fall internship for a Providence-based magazine!

*At this time, I’d like to thank everyone who has been there for me this past semester, y’all know who you are ♥ *