April A to Z Blogging Challenge: D is for Drexel

#DailyWings: “Happiness . Not in another place, but in this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” -Walt Whitman

Blogging From A to Z is an annual month-long challenge in which bloggers around the world are invited to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day corresponding to a letter in the alphabet (26 week days = 26 letters). For this year’s A to Z challenge, my theme is personal anecdotes, or “childhood memories.”

Some of my earliest memories take place at the preschool I went to in Boston called Drexel. I don’t remember what the school looked like from the outside, but my teachers were named Barry and Betsy and they were the kind of lovely, patient and kind human beings you’d imagine would make good preschool teachers.As a preschooler at Drexel, I must have been around five or six years old, if not younger. The golden gates of childhood had only just begun to open, and I was starting to learn how to develop friendships with children my age rather than with nurses or my sister’s friends.
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April A to Z Blogging Challenge: C is for Crush

#DailyWings: “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” -Albert Einstein

Blogging From A to Z is an annual month-long challenge in which bloggers around the world are invited to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day corresponding to a letter in the alphabet (26 week days = 26 letters). For this year’s A to Z challenge, my theme is personal anecdotes, or “childhood memories.”

A few days before the “A to Z” challenge actually started and while I was collecting suggestions for childhood memories for me to share, someone requested that I blog about embarrassing moments since they’re “the best.” Another person requested a story about my first crush.

Incidentally, one of my most distinct memories of childhood involves an embarrassing moment and my first (major) crush. Today, I’m killing those two birds with one stone. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

 In fourth grade, I took a “Like liking” to – you guessed it- the most popular guy in our class. His name was Warren, and he also happened to be the nicest boy in the class (no wonder everyone liked him). It wasn’t just that he was an A-star soccer player, or that he had dimples and pretty blue eyes and wore mousse in his chocolate brown hair like “a gentleman.” It was that he got along with everyone, and was polite to even the nerdiest, weirdest social pariah. You couldn’t help but like a guy like Warren, especially in the fourth grade.
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April A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015: B is for Barbie

#DailyWings: “I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Blogging From A to Z is an annual month-long challenge in which bloggers around the world are invited to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day corresponding to a letter in the alphabet (26 week days = 26 letters). For this year’s A to Z challenge, my theme is personal anecdotes, or “childhood memories.”

Blogging From A to Z

Here’s me letting you in on a little secret: I hate taking showers. I don’t like being naked and freezing while I hurriedly lather soap all over my body. I can’t stand the surfaces of bath tubs and shower room floors; in fact, one of my shower time “rituals” is to put a small towel on the floor and stand on it while I wash (don’t worry, that towel never touches any part of me besides my feet). I rejoiced after reading this article.

Bath time during my childhood was a different story. Back then, bath time was about “popping bubbles and exchanging dimple smiles” in my small kiddie tub. It was about bonding with my sister Hope, who often helped with my hair wash, and getting some “me-time” after hours of having nurses watch over me (although, sometimes, they were the ones who gave me the bath). It was also about testing to see how long my Barbie dolls could last in the water before their hairstyles were ruined. I remember how good it felt to just slouch my back farther and farther down so my entire body practically floated in the water.
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April A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015: A is for Alouette

#DailyWings: “Music is the strongest form of magic.” -Marilyn Manson

Blogging From A to Z is an annual month-long challenge in which bloggers around the world are invited to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day corresponding to a letter in the alphabet (26 week days = 26 letters). For this year’s A to Z challenge, my theme is personal anecdotes, or “childhood memories.”

Alouette, gentille alouette, Alouette, je te plumerai.

On the first page of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library, a colorful illustration of a bird with large, cartoonish eyes wearing a black beret and striped shirt smiles dreamily, its mouth open as if to sing.

“Alouette” was one of the first songs I learned how to play on the piano. I started piano lessons at seven years old per the will of my mother, who had my sister Hope playing the violin at an even younger age. My parents bought me a piano and we set it up in the living room, between our squishy green couch and a floor lamp. I want to say it was a Yamaha – the piano, I mean – but my memories aren’t perfect.
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The Couples’ Makeup Challenge Pt. 1: My Partner Does My Makeup

#DailyWings: “I’m not saying that putting on makeup will change the world or even your life, but it can be a first step in learning things about yourself you may never have discovered otherwise. At worst, you could make a big mess and have a good laugh.” -Kevyn Aucoin

Back in mid-February, I announced that Andrew and I would be participating in the ever-popular “My Partner Does My Makeup/I Do My Partner’s Makeup” challenges. We decided to split the challenges into two different posts, and after I reached the following Facebook milestones:

Once I hit 250 Likes on “Facebook,” Andrew will get to do my makeup with full discretion (i.e. “My Boyfriend Does My Makeup Challenge”)

Once I hit 300 Likes on “Facebook,” I will give Andrew a full face of makeup!

If you visited my Facebook page recently, you might have noticed that I’ve reached that first milestone of 250 Likes! I’m really excited and want to let you know that I appreciate all of your support. I know 250 Likes may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I don’t want to take anything for granted. Whether or not you follow me on social media, and regardless of how long you’ve been following my blog (or if this is your first time – in that case, welcome!), it means a lot that you take the time to “visit” me and my little online abode!
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April A to Z Challenge Theme Release: Childhood Anecdotes as Literary Prose

#DailyWings: “The days are long, but the years are short.”
-Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I haven’t been blogging as much this month because I’ve signed up to participate in April’s A to Z Blogging Challenge! For this month-long blog event, “A to Z” bloggers are challenged to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day focusing on a letter in the alphabet (there are 26 weekdays in April and 26 letters…get it?). This particular blog challenge, founded by, typically garners more than 1,000 participants. I’ve been following “A to Z” for quite a few years, but I haven’t had the courage to sign up until now.

For my own sanity, each “A to Z” blog post won’t exceed 500 words. My main goals for participating in this challenge is to 1) interact more with you all and the rest of the blogging community, and to 2) simply have fun writing.
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#1000Speak: Showing Compassion in the Office

#DailyWings: ʺIt is a wonderful seasoning of all enjoyments to think of those we love.ʺMolière

Since I jumped on the #1000Speak blogging wagon a couple weeks ago, it’s been one of the best and most inspiring blogging events I’ve been a part of! I’ve met so many people who have wide open hearts and extraordinary experiences. If you don’t know what #1000Speak is, it’s an online initiative to spread kindness and share stories of compassion. Back in February, I shared my thoughts on the Chapel Hill shooting, namely how it’s affected me, what the legacy of Deah, Yusor and Razan means for the rest of us and what we can learn as a society about tolerance and activism moving forward.

To me, compassion is about finding light at the end of the tunnel and providing support for the ones we love during hard times. Rather than use abstract words to try and explain what compassion is, however, I want to continue the #1000Speak trend by sharing another story of compassion, one that hits close to home for not only me but also a group of people that I work with every single day.
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One Lovely Blog Hop: 7 Interesting Facts About Me

#DailyWings: “Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” -Kenneth Grahame

For those of you who are finally getting warmer weather, welcome to spring! I live in North Carolina and it’s been absolutely lovely the past couple days. At one point, the temperature dared to reach 71 degrees, with the sun’s rays peeking out from in between the clouds as if to ask permission. I took a walk.

If the area where you’re located is still trapped in cold winter, hang in there! I read that even the snow in Boston is starting to melt (finally). The good news is that Daylight Savings set our clocks forward on Sunday morning, which means many of us get to come home from work while it’s still bright outside.The time change has also seemed to (hopefully) kick me back into regular blog scheduling mode; the loss of a single hour’s worth of sleep this morning has reminded me of all the time that’s passed by since my last blog post.

What with the snow days, UNC’s spring break and the NC Fellows Final Interview Day, I’ve had to put my site updates on hold. I’m hoping to become more consistent with my blogging in the future, even if that means fewer blog posts per week (as opposed to week-long hiatuses). Thank you all for sticking with me during this weird transition between seasons!

I’ve got a fun blog hop for you all today. My good friend Sara Letourneau, who blogs regularly and writes fantasy, tagged me for the One Lovely Blog Hop. Here are the details for this hop:
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February Monthly Favorites: The Snowpocalypse Diaries 2015

#DailyWings: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss

Happy (belated) National Read Across America Day aka Dr. Seuss Day! If you’re a big Dr. Seuss fan like I am, check out this list of classic Seuss-y quotes or read all about his upcoming book, What Pet Should I Get? (Late authors can still get stuff published, didn’t you know?) Or, best of all, take this awesome Buzzfeed Quiz to find out which Dr. Seuss book character you are (I got Horton!).

Dr. Seuss’s books were some of my favorite growing up (namely Green Eggs and Ham and There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!). If you work with a child or have kids at home, take an hour or two today and read with them – it’ll give them a break from the computer screen and remind them the joys of books. After all, as Dr. Seuss always said, “the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” A wise man, he was.

Whew. Now that we’ve celebrated Dr. Seuss on the blog (albeit a day late), it’s time to get into my monthly favorites! It still feels like February, which doesn’t come as a surprise since there’s only 28 days in the month. How is it already March? Where did the time go? Is it just me, or do I ask this in every Monthly Favorites blog post?
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#1000Speak: Drawing Compassion from the Chapel Hill Shootings

#DailyWings“Walk for those that can’t walk. Run for those who wish they could. Fight for those who can’t fight. Scream for those who wish for a voice. Hope for those who are hopeless. Dream for those who wish they had sight. Love for those who will never know what love is. Love them too. Forgive for those who will never learn to forgive. Forgive them too. Breathe for those who struggle for air. Stand for those who can’t. Believe for the ones who doubt. Live for those that never had a chance to. And never take it for granted.” -Joshua Globa

Today, more than 1,000 bloggers from all over the world are coming together in solidarity to share stories of compassion for “1000 Voices for Compassion,” with the goal of inspiring others to live with open hearts. Compassion isn’t just a passive feeling. It also doesn’t have to be an aggressive action. It’s about listening to what’s not being said, giving room for others to breathe and making moves when we recognize social injustice.

For my #1000Speak contribution, I want to address the Chapel Hill shootings that took place on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. To continue the “1,000 Voices” trend, I will also be sharing a local story about fighting against cancer next week that I think perfectly captures the heart of compassion.

But the stories of compassion by no means don’t stop here. As you browse the news and your favorite blogs today, take a moment to read other #1000Speak stories. Read about other people’s struggles and triumphs, the pieces of broken dreams after they’ve been shattered, the unexpected joys, the sacrifices of second nature, the hand-holding of strangers, the glimmers of hope that we all keep holding onto. Know this: We’re still fighting the good fight.
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