Alaska

It’s on my bucket list to visit every state in the U.S., and last week I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful state of Alaska. I traveled the 4,000 miles with my boyfriend and his family to a discrete cabin a couple of hours outside of Anchorage.

The common questions I’ve received revolved around the weather of course, because of its cold climate by nature and our travel plans for late June. The whole week was beautiful weather, staying in the 60’s during the day and dropping to 50’s at night. There was really only a couple of days that were chilly, and just one day of some rain. It was light for most of the day, however, and only actually got “dark” when there was a heavy overcast. In the winter Alaska experiences the opposite, and we were told that the heavy dark days are the hardest part about winters in Alaska. But the extended daylight was great, and gave us the opportunity to pack a lot of things into each day.

The glaciers were by far the most enjoyable part of the trip for me. We were able to hike the Matanuska Glacier, which is over 27 miles long and 4 miles wide. Our path did not cross even a fraction of this mass, and yet it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. We also did a 5 hour day cruise in Whittier, in which we came face to face with several amazing glaciers.

The mountains and the wildlife was also incredible. We saw bald eagles, sea otters, bears, moose, elk, musk oxen, wolves and more. Between the Musk Ox Farm and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, we observed so many amazing creatures living their lives.

Downtown Anchorage holds a Saturday Market throughout the summer that includes local vendors and artists, and we were lucky enough to attend during the Summer Solstice Festival as well. In additional to the tents of beautiful crafts and delicious food, there was also outdoor music, street and rooftop bars, and blow up activities for children. I spent a ton of time going in and out of tents and filling up my stomach and bags with everything I could find, and I could have spent even more.

This trip was also an amazing opportunity for my boyfriend and I to grow. After being together a year, this trip provided many new experiences and memories that helped us strengthen what we have. Exploring a new place and adventuring through nature together is an amazing way to spend time with someone you love, and by the end, we had fallen even more in love with each other.

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Our world is beautiful and amazing and there is so much to see! Traveling is a way to feel alive and experience all the incredible things that the world has to offer. If you ever have the chance to visit Alaska, GO!

Thanks for reading.

Ross Mathews called me FASCINATING

A little while ago, I put out an idea into the universe that I wanted to make it onto Ross Mathews’ podcast, Straight Talk With Ross. I was binge listening to all of the episodes and I would call in randomly to leave voicemails. My realistic hope was that one of my voicemails or something would be featured on the show.

Last week, I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, on which Ross Mathews is a judge. I am loving this season so I decided to call into Straight Talk and leave a voicemail of my current thoughts. I dialed the number and was waiting to hear the voicemail recording.

Instead I heard, “Hello?”

I freaked out. Someone had answered. “Oh my god, hi!” I could hear the cast talking in the background, recording the show. “Am I on the air?”

“No, but hang on a second..” It was a male voice, and I was trying to figure out who he was. I could hear him go talk to Ross and Mark regarding a caller, but after waiting a while, he got back on the line and let me know that they were not going to have time for callers today.

“That’s no problem – are you JRod?” I asked.

“Uhh, no.” He answered. Whoops. I also asked if his name was Willie (the two cast members who would normally be answering the phone) and he also said no, so I stopped guessing. He told me to try calling in again next week at the same time.

Oh, you got it.

A week went by and I decided I had to try again. I had called in at 7PM my time the week before, which means they probably started recording at 6PM, which would be 3PM in LA where they record.

I made my first call at 6:10, and it went to voicemail. I called again at 6:30 and it went to voicemail again. At this point I figured it was a long shot that someone would answer, so I tried once more at 6:45. Someone picked up and quickly hung up. THEY’RE THERE. I called again.

“Hello?”

This time, JRod answered the phone! I told him I was a huge fan of the show and we had a laugh about my previous call the week before. He said he wasn’t even sure how my call had gotten through, because he didn’t think they had the phones turned on! He then told me to hang on while he went to see if there was time for me on the show.

Oh. My. God.

I listened to Mark talk about getting his vasectomy surgery for a few minutes, and then they went to break. My heart was pounding the entire time in anticipation that I might even just TALK to Ross Mathews, let alone be on the show. After a couple more minutes, JRod came back on the line and let me know that he would push me through to Ross for the next segment.

I DID IT. I MADE IT ON THE SHOW.

Ross Mathews is amazing! He is so nice and welcoming, even to a crazy fan like me! Ross and the other cast members were asking me about my life, we talked about Drag Race and my love for Halsey, and I even got to sing! Truly amazing.

I felt so accomplished that I had put this thought out into the universe and actually made it happen. I’ve said before that I am a big believer in that you get the energy back that you put out into the world. It’s true what they say – if you put your mind to something, you can make it happen!

Ross gave me a couple cute little nicknames and told me that I could call back into the show whenever I wanted to! He said he was interested in my life and wanted to check in with me. (Get your (va)Gina checked!) HE SAID HE FOUND ME FASCINATING! It was honestly a funny and cute little segment, lasted about five minutes, and made me ridiculously happy.

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Find Straight Talk With Ross wherever you listen to podcasts, and go to the episode released on April 26th. It’s Episode 226 – Pooh Bear Fomo. I come in around 52:45. Or for the direct link, you can CLICK HERE .

Thanks for reading!

Take a Chance

People are often too nervous to make a big change in their life, hung up on the idea of things happening when the timing is right.

Reality: the timing will never be right. Do it now.

I’m a big believer in the idea of “everything happens for a reason”. I believe in fate. I believe that things have a way of working themselves out the way that they are supposed to.

These ideas have allowed me to throw the idea of “timing” out the window, and just go for it.

When I first graduated college, I moved back home – which was not my intended plan. I had been looking forward to getting my own place. I was used to the freedoms of college, and going back home was an adjustment. I spent the summer looking for a job to start my career, searching for something where I could commute from home. I went to countless interviews and had many maybes… but nothing followed through. After 3 months, I was beginning to get discouraged. My friend told me of a job opening at her dad’s company, which was located close to my college – a little over an hour away from home. I got the job, and immediately started looking for apartments.

The first month was a rough transition, where I was living out of my car and trying to figure out where to live. I felt like an inconvenience, rotating between sleeping on my friend’s couch and staying with my boyfriend at the time. I knew we were going to break up any day, and I wanted a space to start fresh. Next thing I knew, I was signing a lease for my apartment in Allentown, saying goodbye to the boyfriend, and saying hello to a little puppy named Ducky.

When all the dust had settled, I realized that everything played out exactly the way it was supposed to.

Over the next six months, my job started taking over all my time. I had to be in the office by 6:30 to catch folks leaving on the 3rd shift, and I was expected to stay past 5 to greet the folks on 2nd shift. With the half hour commute, I would get home by 6, and be asleep half an hour later. There were many other frustrations at work, and I was beginning to dread going back every day. My whole life was work and sleep, and I absolutely hated it. When people at work stopped being nice to me and started to ignore me, I knew I had to get out of there. I started applying to other jobs, went on an interview, and was offered a new position.

Truthfully, I was scared to take it. I didn’t know what was the right thing to do, and I was nervous to pull the trigger. Yes, I hated my job, but I had put in a lot of effort with this company – I even moved to a new city. I thought about it, I talked about it with my friends and family, and I decided that taking the job was the right decision.

It was a Thursday morning, I was at my job, and I was getting ready to quit. I walked outside to make a call to accept the new job, but all the managers were in a meeting, so someone took a message for me. I went back inside into a meeting with my boss, only to find out that I was being let go. I was getting all my PTO paid out, I wouldn’t have to work the two weeks of notice like I had planned, and I’d never have to see my horrible boss ever again. Great, byeeeeee! I packed up my desk and left. As I got into my car, the new company called me back, and my offer was officially accepted.

Talk about timing.

The next year and a half was a blast. I had an active social life, I was killing it at work, and I was having a ton of fun. During that time I also met my boyfriend Ryan, which had its own way of showing me that things work out they way they should. Regardless, I truly loved my job, and I had goals of moving up in the company.

But, all good things must come to an end. The company was making arbitrary decisions, and was making promises to people and then not following through. I had an unstable coworker inappropriately scream at me, and the situation was not handled properly. To top it all off, the company could no longer afford to give me my bonus nor my increase that had been promised to me months and months ago. I really loved my boss, but I looked at her and said, “You’re joking, right?”

I knew this company was never going to give me what I deserved, even though I was a large asset to my department. I took a half day, and spent the afternoon applying to other jobs. Cut to a phone interview the next day, and a face to face interview the next week. Less than 24 hours later, I had a job offer that was going to pay me more than double what I was currently making. It was an awesome position, a great company, and an amazing opportunity.

I wasn’t afraid to take it.

There were reasons not to. I had a ton of friends at work, I had a chance at a promotion, and I had made a great name for myself. However, there were a lot of glaring reasons to say yes and go for it. And I knew that it was the right thing to do. I had worked hard and I put that energy out into the universe. So even if my company wasn’t going to reward me, the universe did.

After I had put in my two weeks, my friend at work asked me if I was scared to leave. I answered, “Nope.”

My new job is amazing, and the transition was an easy one. The job is much more geared towards what I studied in college, and I’ve gotten positive feedback so far about my work. And of course, the money helps.

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This narrative is about my career, but I am a big believer in all aspects of my life that fate will work everything out. I believe that the energy you put out into the world is the energy that you get back. Things might not always be great, and there will always be challenges. But if you are positive and keep moving forward, life will reward you with an opportunity.

And if a great opportunity lands at your feet, don’t be afraid to take it.

What are you waiting for? Take the chance.

Thanks for reading.

Wisdom Teeth Surgery

For a long time, I was convinced that I would never need this surgery because my wisdom teeth actually had grown in and fit in my mouth comfortably. A couple years later, my dentist told me that because of the lack of space around those teeth, my toothbrush was not cleaning them effectively enough to keep cavities away, and that this would continue over time. So, he recommended that I have them removed. Even after getting a consult with an oral surgeon, I instinctively pushed this off for several months. THEN, a piece of the tooth broke off (probably from the cavities – gross, I know…) and the remainder of the tooth was sharp and jabbing into my gums. So it’s no surprise that two weeks later I found myself in the surgeon’s chair.

Let me start off by saying that the surgery went well and was relatively easy – I didn’t even need stitches! That being said, going into the surgery, I was a nervous wreck. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of being put to sleep, I’ve never had surgery of any kind, and honestly I’ve had very minimal medical issues. Still, I probably should have been more chill about the whole thing.

I was already feeling uneasy this week leading up the the surgery, and I woke up playing a list of worst case scenarios over and over in my head. I was strangely sensitive all morning and my anxiety levels were high. (Quick shout out to my amazing boyfriend Ryan for doing what he could to put me at ease.❤)  Those levels were further increased by two sets of strangers in the waiting room making small talk about the details of their children’s procedures. Phrases such as, “root canal” and “synthetic stitching” had me praying that they would either leave or just shut the fuck up.

By the time I was in the surgeon’s chair, I was doing everything I could to not go into a full blown panic. I told the doctor I was nervous as she put three little monitors on me, one on each side of my collar bone and one on my left side. I wasn’t even hooked up to the IV yet, and I was getting more nervous by the second. She then put the blood pressure cuff around my arm and as I felt it getting tighter and tighter, I started to panic that it wouldn’t stop and it would just keep squeezing my arm until it injured me. Contrary to the mania in my head, the machine did stop tightening, but honestly it was extremely uncomfortable and was taking an awful long time to release. The doctor was looking at the machine and said that she was going to change the cuff. She manually released it and put the new one on, saying, “Don’t worry – this one is brand new!” Oh thank you so much, you’re just making me feel so much better about this whole thing! (No, actually she was really nice and the machine took my blood pressure correctly that time). After she took all my vitals, she left the room without taking the cuff off my arm like I expected her to. A minute or two went by and the cuff started to tighten again, putting me back into a small panic. My mind started racing. Wasn’t she supposed to take this off of me? Is this supposed to be taking my BP again? Should it be this tight? I complained to Ryan that it was hurting me and he kept reassuring me that everything was okay, but I was feeling more anxious by the second. My eyes started to well up, so I shifted my gaze upwards and tried to blink it away. In one hour, it’ll be done. In just one hour, it’ll be over. When the doctor came back in, I was given laughing gas and the instructions to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. The blood pressure cuff started to tighten again.

Me: Is that going to keep happening every two minutes?

Doctor: Every five minutes, but yes. You doing okay?

No, not really. 

Me: Yeah, it’s just a little tight.

Doctor: Okay, Ryan now do you want to go back into the waiting room now or do you want to wait until after we do the IV?

Ryan: I —

Me: He probably wants to stay.

Doctor: Ryan, do you want to come hold her hand?

Me: Yeah, he does.

Once I had Ryan’s hand in mine, I closed my eyes and the doctor took my arm. She wrapped something around me above my elbow to get a good vein for the IV, but that made me really internally freak the fuck out. I could feel my legs shaking and they had to remind me to keep breathing or else the laughing gas wouldn’t work. (Ryan has informed me post-surgery that I actually did, in fact, stop breathing for a second.) I forced myself to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, but my exhales came out shaky.

It’s not even like the needle itself was painful, it was everything else that really freaked me out. The weird IV bag, the things hooked up to my collar bone, the blood pressure cuff. Everything made me nervous and anxious and scared. I couldn’t control my breathing or stop my body from shaking. It was scary to not be able to calm myself down, especially after Ryan had been told to make his way back to the waiting room. Luckily, that meant that the IV was in, and after a few minutes of panic that it wouldn’t have any affect on me, I guess I finally fell asleep.

Let me just remind you again that this was just a normal wisdom teeth surgery – and an easy one at that. I usually don’t have any problems going to a medical appointment, but then again, I’ve never had to be “hooked up” to anything. I pray that I don’t find myself with any serious complications in the future, because I don’t know if I could handle it. To anyone who has been put through surgeries, procedures, or any other scary medical experiences, please know that you are a stronger human than I am! Respect.

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Anyway, waking up from surgery was fairly easy. It was much less dramatic than I was picturing, and there was no “David After Dentist” camera opp. (By the way – no, I am not high on pain pills as I am writing this or anything like that.) Truly, the worst part of the entire procedure was being so ridiculously in my head about it.

So yeah, that’s how my first surgery experience went. Thanks for reading.

If you’re reading this, I started a blog.

I am starting this blog because I want to find a way to connect more with my writing. I don’t have a theme, I am not promoting anything, and really my only purpose is self fulfillment. What I write here will be the random, genuine, and original ideas that are floating around inside my head. Like it says above, I don’t really care if you read this or not. I’m writing for me.

I’ve been living downtown in Allentown, PA for over 2 years now. My office is located just 6 blocks from my apartment, so I am able to walk to work. Even on rainy days like today, this has been a tremendous improvement in my life. The work/life balance that is available within my position has allowed me time to focus on things I enjoy, rather than just work, work, work and nothing else. I’ve been reading more, going to a yoga class, and I even did some “feng shui” around the apartment.

I’m finding the importance of doing things for yourself in order to get the best balance out of life. I surround myself with things that I love and people who love me, and I’ve found that I am happy.

More to come! Thanks for reading.