Fresh Start

What a couple weeks I've had. 

In the midst of life, I moved into a new home and had the hardest weeks at work.  I, however, have told myself that a new space deserves a new perspective. 

I know most of you are reading that last statement and are saying easier said than done. I ask you this-  Do you want to spend your time reliving what has happened or spend your time encountering new moments. From personal experience, I can tell you I spent YEARS of my time worried about what others thought, the trauma from past relationships and playing the comparison game.  I now tell myself that I am living a new truth and spend my time trying (I'll admit It difficult) working on new projects and slowly depicting my friendships.  Some people are not meant to be part of your next season and you wonder why it's hard to fix that friendship or relationship. 

I've come to understand that your opinion is all that matters, people will not agree with you all the time but honestly? who cares. As long as you are happy, that's all that matters.  I suffered horribly from the comparison game the last month and a half when it came to blogging. I hung out at Home Goods ( getting ideas for my new office space) with my best friend who asked me why I have stopped posting and I admitted that I was in my feelings. I love my best friend - her response: The whole point of blogging is to talk about your feelings.  So is this where I admit that I had an epiphany in the middle of Home Goods... right? I had a lightbulb moment here. 

I created The Adi Chronicles to share my testimony. I have experienced so many things in the last 31 years of life and I am hoping that someone out there benefits from me sharing what I have learned.  The Adi Chronicles is where I want to openly talk about anything. I want to chronicle my journey with Jesus, I want to chronicle my journey in finding love, I want to chronicle my journey of seeking my purpose and I want to chronicle my journey of living my dream of living as a photographer. I am claiming these things because that's what you do... you speak things into existence. I have spent enough years worrying I wasn't good enough...... This is a journey of finding myself... if you are along for the ride, great! If you are not?  you can click out of my blog and follow those that stunt for the 'gram. 

I am a real person who suffered from sexual abuse as a child ( never really spoke about this) , suffered mental, emotional and physical abuse from my last relationship that I spent 8 years in. I have stories and I have scars from the hurt that I experienced..... this does not define me and shouldn't define you!

To those that are staying, Welcome to The Adi Chronicles!

xoxo

A

 

Relax, Refresh, Recharge

For 2018, I promised myself that I was going to make some down time mandatory. Considering that Monday through Friday isn't ideal and Saturdays are my errand days..... Sunday won by a landslide. 

In this blog post, I'm going to share my current favorite things to do on Sundays to decompress and get ready for a hectic work week. 

1. Serving with Elevation Church

Believe it or not, I've been an online volunteer with Elevation Church for almost two years now. Right now I'm the Team Leader for the Elevation Worship channel that broadcasts Pastor Steven's sermons at the following times: 9:30a/11:30a/1:30p/5p/8p/10p. 

I've had the opportunity to connect with online viewers tuning in around the world and I've made connections with so many amazing people. God is using me in ways I may not understand right now but this opportunity is one I'm proud to be apart of. 

2. Reading 

With a two hour commute, I've indulged in buying books from Amazon. (Amazon Prime is a God Send). Right now, I am reading "Own The Moment" by Carl Lentz which is unbelievable! In this book, Pastor Carl illuminates readings of the bible passages and offers pracitical tips on how to live as a person of faith in an increasingly materialistic world. 

"How do you maintain your values—and pass them onto your children—in a society that worships money and sex and fame? How do you embrace your flaws in this Instagram era that exalts the appearance of perfection? How do you forget about “living the dream” and learn to embrace the beauty of your reality?"

The second book I am currently loving is a poetry book by Samantha Holmes King called "Born to Love, Cursed to Feel". In this poetry book, the author talks about love, the good , the bad and the confusion. It talks about how emotions are involved, love is never black or white.  She really pulls you in and points out how a woman feels about falling in love, making a bad decision and learning to overcome the pain. As someone who struggled getting over an abuse eight year relationship, I really connected to this book. 

3. Dance Party

Oh... don't act like you haven't create the perfect playlist and switched your volume to 15 and danced it out. I have to admit that my job honestly requires a lot of my energy and attention during the day. I love being able to turn on a great playlist and just dance. Yes, It's a silly method but it works... I promise.  

 

 

Sidenote: The Weeknd's album has not stopped playing since it's release. It's truly an album you should check out!

 

Live Boldly, 

A

 

2018 views

I am so excited to launch my new blog name and I welcome all my readers to The Adi Chronicles. I tried my hardest to stick to one niche but I realized that I had a lot to say and limiting myself was definitely not something I was willing to do in 2018. 

I'll be launching three stores on my blog for the following beginning March 31, 2018

- I will be selling my prints of my photography 

- Packages for Photography Services

- Phone Wallpapers and Graphics for Instagram

I am so excited to see where 2018 is going to take me and please don't think I am not terrified. If you only knew of the panic attack I had when everything set in that the launch is going to be this week. 

I keep repeating this phrase to myself:

I know I am capable and brave and significant , even when it feels that I'm not..... I GOT THIS!

I am excited to show you who I am... this includes my imperfections because I am a work in process and I will never tell you otherwise. I am walking in faith and learning more and more about myself each day. I will those of you who read my blog post to know that it's okay to be imperfect and it's okay to admit your faults and be fully capable of reaching your dreams. 

I am also very excited to show you all my creativity and the ideas that float around in my head every day. 

I am living boldly and encourage all of you to do the same.

xoxo

Adi

It's TACO Night!

Cooking dinner is a challenge when you are a commuter. It's hard to think up what to make especially if you have to defrost meat or vegetables at 8 pm but I had a great time partnering with Old El Paso to create a simple taco recipe that you can make. 

Old El Paso sent me a Taco Boats Dinner kit that included:

https://www.oldelpaso.com/products/stand-n-stuff-taco-dinner-kit

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  • Stand n' Stuff Flour Tortilla Boats
  • Mild Taco Sauce
  • Seasoning Mix
  • Meat and Topping at your preference of course.

For Food Safety and quality, follow the cooking directions. 

Make 8 Ground Beef Tacos in 3 Easy Steps:

You will need: 1 lb Lean Ground Beef or Chicken and 2/3 cup of water.

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1. Brown beef in 10-inch skillet, drain. Stir in water and seasoning mix; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often.  I always add butter and garlic to my ground beef for an extra punch. 

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2. Pull tab to open package of Tortilla cups.   To heat in Microwave, wrap stack of Tortillas in microwavable waxed paper; place on microwaveable plate. Microwave on high for 20 to 25 seconds until warm. You can also heat up in Oven by wrapping stack of tortillas in foil; place on cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes until warm.  ( Personally, I used a toaster over for 4 minutes heating up two taco bowls at a time)

3. Spoon beef filling into Tortillas. Top with desired toppings and Taco Sauce.  You can refrigerate leftovers; however in my house nothing was left

Do not heat tortillas in plastic package. Seal leftover tortillas in food-storage plastic bag or containers. 

Voila! A simple dinner that honestly took me about 25 minutes to make! 

To get inspired, visit www.oldelpaso.com to get more recipes to try out!

xo

Natalie 

Disclaimer: This is a  Sponsored Post and  Powered by Brand Backer. 

 

Commuting Chronicles

 

Commuter Chronciles

I have always wanted to work in NYC. NYC being to me the center of the most amazing photographers I have ever followed or got inspiration from. I also had done enough research to know that NYC is also very well known to pay you for your level of experience and education.  However, research online did not prepare me for what I’ve learned in the almost two years of commuting I currently do.

I remember applying to a job posting I found in my field of HIV/AIDS testing and case management which spoke directly to me. I have always worked with this population since I graduated from Temple as I started with those in the prisons and then transitioned over to social services.  I applied, received a a call for an interview, interviewed, submitted my references, got the offer and accepted the position. I had exactly less than three weeks to prepare myself for this significant change and I thought there wasn’t much to it. I, however, do not realize that it was going to come down to the wire and I was going to learn very quickly that I should of did a better job in researching this.

Let’s start with the basic of transportation. I live in Philadelphia but in the outskirts. I have a train station less than 10 minutes from my house and I noticed Amtrak trains stopped there.  I assumed that this was the only rail line that went straight to NYC, so I did my research and realized that Amtrak would cost me $ 1300 a month to get me to and from NYC in 45 minutes.  Time wise was great but the way my back account is set up, $ 1300 is not in the cards for me.

I looked into the buses leaving from Philadelphia. As a child, I remembered my mom, sister and I taking Greyhound or Peter Pan buses from the bus station in Center City to visit her aunt in the Bronx.  Monthly for the buses are $ 360 – $ 450 depending on the time of day and line preference, but now in Philadelphia we have several other buses that also go into NYC such as Bolt and the Mega bus. Unfortunately, these buses not offer monthly passes and you will be paying out of pocket each day for the ride.  If you miss your bus or decided to work from home, you will forfeit your ticket. I personally did not like this option and it also didn’t work for me as I leave roughly 20 minutes from the Frankford Transportation Center and it would be another 40 minute ride to 30th Street. I immediately scratched this option off the table.

I looked into Septa. IF you live in Philadelphia, you have heard the large amount of horror stories dealing with this agency. They are the only transportation service company that services the entire city of Philadelphia and some rural areas of PA with their regional rails.  I live in Outer areas of Philadelphia and have access to a regional rail. Considering that I am between two counties, I am able to purchase a Cross County pass for $ 115 that takes me into Trenton. From Trenton, I would have to transfer to NJTRANSIT and considering that I take an early train from Septa, I can take the NEC express train to NYC that only makes five stops. NJTRANSIT makes the monthly pass available via their app which is beneficial if you don’t want to carry a physical pass. I choose this option as I don’t have to go a machine or a ticket window in the beginning of the month.  NJTRANSIT monthly price is $480. Yes… you are reading this right; the cost is $480 because Trenton is the most expensive stop of ALL NJTRANIT stops.  (LUCKY ME) Once I got to NY, my main office is less than five minutes and was walking distance.  However, shortly after beginning this new position, I was transferred to a new office which is downtown. I added MTA subway and another pass to my commuting cost. Monthly cost for MTA pass is $ 122.00.

 

Alternative to this option is off boarding NJTRANSIT at Newark. From Newark, you are able to take the PATH train to the World Trade Center and then to MTA subway. Another option if you are coming into Manhattan would be taking the Newark/ WTC PATH to Journal Square and then transferring to the Journal Square/33rd Street line. This would be requiring you to transfer about three times in the morning to make it into NYC. The cost breakdown was: NJT: Trenton to Newark: $ 353.00  PATH: $89 unlimited pass and $122 MTA pass.  The cost is lower but the transferring becomes incredibly exhausting after a while.

Calculations of Full Commuting Cost:

NYC

Septa: $115.00 (This is solely for my cross county pass. Depending on how far deep you reside in Philadelphia, your pass may or may not be close to $200.00)

NJT: $ 480.00

MTA: $ 122.00

TOTAL: $ 717.00/month

NYC via Newark

Septa: $ 115.00

NJT: $353.00

PATH: $89.00

MTA: $122.00

TOTAL: $ 679.00/month

Please note that you CANNOT claim your commuting expenses on your taxes.

 

The realities of commuting are plenty to mention.

Below is a photo of how Penn Station looks when NJTRANSIT delays are in full affect due to Amtrak problems.

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This photo was taken during the rush hour which for NJT begins at 5pm to about 7. After 7pm the trains run local or semi express. AMTRAK owns the rails and Penn Station and 96% of time we will be facing delays because of them. In the midst of delays, AMTRAK trains take priority before NJT train and you may be adding 60/90 delays to your commute because you are just waiting at Penn Station for train to board.  These delays may extend to the trains already en route to Trenton.  I have experience sitting in the middle of nowhere for over an hour because of downed wires or disabled trains.  I would advise you to follow NJT on Twitter to get a full idea of how often this happens. 

Right now, I can picture many of you reading this and asking me why in the world I would incur this cost on a monthly basis.  Do I wish someone would have explained this to me in the beginning?  YES. Do I wish I did some research before accepting the position? YES. Sometimes you have to make a decision that may or may not make you feel comfortable.  I am going on two years of commuting and I can tell you, it’s not easy. Some days I love the commute because I can get a lot of things done but some days I am wiped out by the time I get to my car.  I have met some amazing people on this commute and I personally wouldn’t change it for anything.  I hope this blog helps those who want to take their chance to commute and experience something new. 

I hope this blog post helps those that were considering the decision to commute.  Do your research and make sure this decision is for you. 

Live Boldly, 

Natalie 

Hitting Reset

On December 31, every year we make promises to ourselves of things we want to accomplish the next year. Whether it’s losing weight or a lifestyle change, we always create a huge list of things we NEED to change. January 19th comes along and we are making great progress, we’ve managed to keep up with our new year’s resolutions. February 3rd comes along and we either have stopped completely or are barely remembering what we promised ourselves to do.

How about I tell you it’s okay to hit the reset button anytime you want?

 Recently, I went off the grid for almost two weeks. This meant no Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and I can tell you it made all the difference for my creativity. I understand these platforms are important for your brand but some people forget that they can close out the apps for a couple days to gather yourself.  I became victim to the comparison game that is so privy to happen on these platforms.  I have been photographing since I was 16 and remember spending HOURS learning Paint Shop Pro. Now everyone on Instagram is either a blogger or photographer criticizing your aesthetic. I had a photographer who I had known for years on social media send me a DM on Instagram telling me they would help me edit my photos. I edit my photos to a moody aesthetic and according to this photographer; no one was going to book me because of this.  It’s crazy that one simple direct message on Instagram can throw your confidence off balance.  Knowing myself the self-doubt didn’t stop there, I began to wonder why friends were not supporting my craft.  Many people in my life knew that I loved photography since my teens; I began to think was my aesthetic really that bad?

Then I stepped away from social media and came to this realization. ..

Hitting reset isn’t only for those New Year’s resolution. You can hit reset on anything in life. I’ve gone through some rough storms the last couple months and I got to see who was really there for during that time. I also came to the realization that some people will support you just in case you make it. This world is taking a turn into an era of benefit. Most people who you consider friends are only around because of what you can offer to them.

-          The friend that wakes up at 3am to pick them up from a bad date, but this friend does not answer your call at 3am when you can’t sleep because of some rough storms.

-          The friend that calls you when they are in a bind but never answers your calls or text messages when you need quick advice or resources

-          The friend that calls for favors but you know you can’t count of that person to reciprocate.

-          The friend that is fully aware that you are good at your craft but always wants a discount but yet is never satisfied

-          The friend that you would never introduce to your new boyfriend or girlfriend

-          The friend you will not do business with (EVER)

-          The friend that is always asking for help but never in a position to offer help

-          The friend that is always looking for a handout but is on social media taking trips every other week.

This list can get even longer but my point is that you don’t have to wait until the following year to go back to factory reset. Recently, I got a new laptop and ran into some issues and my sister factory reset the entire thing. I lost the little bit of work I had created but it gave me a chance to go back to the drawing board and create a different vision. The end result was better than the original and this correlates with life as well. You may need to step away from those types of friends listed above because they are not a benefit to your wellbeing. As Pastor Kim always says, you may not be ready to cut ties but move them to the balcony. Sometimes those around you are the ones stopping you from reaching your greatness.  We all want to think best of those we choose to have close to us but when you stop replying or but people on Do Not Disturb, you will realize their true colors.

For the time being, I will be on Do Not Disturb until I want to interact again.  This is a personal choice for me and at the end of the day; I want peace in my own life.  This is not up for argument. Most of us have been living in a life of drama and it’s never our own. Take a minute, hour, day, week or month and step away for a bit, I promise you it will make a difference.

Live Boldly, 

Natalie

Why New York?

I get a lot of questions of why I decided to work in NYC versus finding a job in Philadelphia.

Let me start with saying that New York has always been a dream for me.  I have always wanted to work in NYC simply because of my photography ambitions... so why not make the first step?

When I graduated from Temple University, I applied to my first job in Philadelphia right out of college.  At the time, anything criminal justice related were on a hiring freeze and it took me months to find a job. I graduated in August of 2009 and had to get a part time at Express until May 2010.   May 2010, I got my first full time job in Center City where I gradually began moving up in the company and ended up working in the Philadelphia Prions.  Shortly after transferring I got burned out.  After taking about a month to myself, I worked at a health clinic and then moved outside of the county. My dad has always told me to never settle if you don’t see growth.  That has been a mantra I have kept in mind my entire career.

I applied to a position in NYC, interviewed and got the job.  Despite dealing with the perils of NJT and the amount of expenses I have on a monthly basis, it was the best decision for my career and my photography.  Most people don’t take the leap because they may feel that companies will not hire you if you don’t live in their state. Let me tell you, I never knew the amount of people that commute on a daily basis from Philadelphia to NYC. I made some amazing friends on this commute and all have different work backgrounds.  In regards to my photography, the ability to flourish your craft is a lot easier because of the open community of Arts. You can walk down the street with your camera, take a picture and someone will ask you about your photo and invite you to a private event. It happens, NYC subway is infamous for sparking random ART conversations. I can not say I have been able to find something similar in Philadelphia.

Work wise, I have been able to find work between both my fields which were Social Services and Administration of Justice and Security.  In NYC, there are a huge variety of locations across th five boroughs where jobs within these fields are available. That includes entry level, managerial and adminstrative. 

In all honesty, Philadelphia doesn’t pay enough. I have searched for jobs in Philadelphia under my degree and the pay is ridiculously low. I remember one employer requiring a Master’s Degree and paying in the low 30s. My Master degree was more than that alone. Sadly, I’ve seen more job postings with the same qualifications and same pay. Some may argue I am not looking hard enough but NYC pays more. Most will argue that cost of living is cheaper and equals out... and it does.. but after having this same conversation with other fellow commuters, everyone across the board agrees that the greater opportunity of working in a different state drives a lot of us to commute. A lot of my commuter friends work along the Northeast Corridor ( our NJT train line) and work in New Brunswick, Newark, Jersey City and NYC ( 90 % of us).

I would encourage anyone to apply to any job that appeals to you.  I am happy I made the decision to apply in NYC and now get to take the trains to and from. Don’t get me wrong it also has it disadvantages:

1. I depend on three rail systems: Septa, NJTRANSIT and MTA. If you have research these three agencies, you may find some of my tweets complaining about               their service. Commute has it’s good and bad days but as they say... good outweighs bad sometimes

2. Leaving early and Arriving home late. I wake up at 5am and I am on my Septa train to Trenton by 6:30. At Trenton, I take my connecting train to NYC and once in NYC , I take MTA one stop to transfer to another subway train. I come home around 7:30- 8 if we are not experiencing delays.

3. Cost of Commuting. My monthly expense for commuting is around $700 for all these rail systems. NJTRANSIT being my most expensive pass. Amtrak is not an option. A monthly pass for Amtrak is $1300 a month. Considering that Amtrak is the root of 99% of the delays going into NYC , I wouldn’t give them any of my money.

4.Delays... Delays are unavoidable when riding by train. Trip to and from Philadelphia is two hours. Any delays make this into a long morning or a very long night for you. The issue can be Septa... can be MTA... can be NJT..... actually it can be all three because I’ve encountered this plenty of times. 

Now I know what you are thinking... WHY? But let me tell you.... the friendships I’ve made, the networking and connections that have come from this commute make it worth it to me. Right now I am typing this blog post on my iPad en route to NYC. You get used to the commute and the two hours goes by quicker than you expect.

My goal is to move to NYC and I am considering NJ of course. I have a plan in mind and it’s a matter of time for me right now. I am coming up to my second year of commuting and my answer my differ if I don’t mind it .. but I love NYC... I feel at home there.

So my advice is to not let your location be your limitation. Take advantage that these opportunities exist and think outside of the box. If you have any questions about commuting, shoot me an email. I’d be happy to guide you in the right direction.

 

Live Boldly,

Xo

 

Adi

Chapter 2: Stepping Out in Faith

It was October 2015, when Jai and I had our last fight. One that I wasn’t sure what would happen next. I remember throwing his phone on the tile floor hoping it would shatter. I remember pulling the clothes from the closet and yelling for him to leave and trying to calm Oreo down because she was trying to protect me. All this because he couldn’t for the life of him be faithful.

For the next couple months, I had to adjust to living alone again. I had to get use to coming home and taking care of Oreo while managing a household on my own. I am not going to lie, I struggled because bad enough the break up was bad but I was angry and resentful. I can’t tell you what really happened from October 2015 to July 2016. It was a complete blur to me and when people ask me about that time period of my life, I really don’t remember. 

I remember coming across a video someone shared on Facebook of someone called Steven Furtick. At that time, I did not know he was a Pastor and He spoke about being in your darkest moment,  hitting rock bottom and God being the rock at the bottom, proving his faithfulness.  Oddly enough a week before I saw this video, Jai showed up at my apartment to talk. He knew I wasn’t okay and asked me where my weapon was. Did I plan to taking my life ? No, but I did think about how things would go if I wasn’t in the picture.  I am not an emotional person nor do I like talking about my feelings... so the idea of telling anyone about how I felt was not at the top of my priority list.  I never told anyone about his drug use or the abuse... I told myself this was my life forever and I was going to have to deal with it. I remember the day he was at my apartment we argued because I wouldn’t tell him where it was. He searched the entire bedroom until he found it. He stored it in my lockbox, locked box and took the keys with him. It wasn’t until January of 2017 that he gave me back the keys.

July 2016, I explored more about Pastor Steven and Elevation Church. I downloaded all his sermons on the app and listened to them to and from NY. I remember joking to my mom that I was running out of data because I would listen to two or three sermons in one trip. I remember listening and crying my eyes out because I didn’t understand.  That relationship ended badly and affected me in more ways than I’d like to admit... how was I ever going to bounce back from this?  I remember finding out that they lived streamed their sermons on Sunday and watching. I can’t remember what sermon Pastor Steven was preaching but I remember making the decision to give my life to Christ. I didn’t understand but I made the decision to raise my hand.. I remember sending an email to Pastor Chad who is our online Campus Pastor wanting to get involved. I knew that I wasn’t the only person going through the same struggles... I needed guidance! Who would want me after this? How will I be able to date and not continue being resentful?  I needed to forgive but I didn’t know how.

Things changed after that day. I began chat hosting on elevationchurch.online and got to meet some amazing people around the world. That platform soon grew to YT and Facebook where we now stream for all worship experience.

Life shifted months following my decision, I met some amazing people on my commute and encountered someone who I never thought I would. Little did I know that months later, this person and I would be communicating in a way that I didn’t think would happen. I will leave this story for another chapter but it’s funny to be typing this blog post and thinking about where I was and Where I am now. 

Stepping out in faith isn’t easy.  I didn’t expect that almost a year later, I would stumble... things were just not going the way I expected. Friendships were ending, my photography wasn’t blossoming and I tried dating and immediately knew that dating was not going to be for me in 2017. I shut down completely, I spent months in full shutdown mode. If you know me personally, shut down mode isn’t good. I completely tune everyone out and go radio silent. I had so many people get mad at me because of this and truthfully I didn’t care.. still don’t honestly.  I couldn’t catch a break, Mom got sick and someone broke into my apartment while I was at work and stole my laptop and cameras. Can you imagine how I felt coming home to a trashed apartment? Realizing that ALL my essential personal items were missing and someone had actually gone through my personal drawers?.... It didn’t help that two weeks before this I spent my birthday crying on the steps of Penn’s Landing alone. 

I can tell you... every time something happened, I got upset. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t catch one break and I remember getting mad at God because of it. It wasnt until I had a conversation with someone who said.. things could of been worse.. and he was right. I survived a lot of things in the last nine years of my life. My life has a purpose and God isn’t finished with me yet. I may not understand why I have had to experience the things I did but maybe it was for me to share my story. Someone may be experiencing a similar situation as I did and I can tell you with certainty that it gets better.... you HAVE to make the decision to change how you respond to your circumstances. I continue to be a work in progress with my faith but I came into 2018 seeking restoration. God is faithful even if I don’t understand his plan for me... my steps are ordered and it’s my responsibility to walk in full purpose. I may not like the road I am on but there is a reason and I have to just TRUST.

I recommend you listen to Pastor Steven’s sermon from New Year’s Eve... You will not be disappointed.

https://youtu.be/uUu4_VIeTzs 

Step out in faith... I promise you will not regret it.

 

Live Boldly,

XOXO

 

Adi

Chapter 1 - Life at 31 I Forgiving Myself

I turned 31 on December 10th of this month and I spent it alone.  I literally sat in my car in tears because I felt like I wasted another year and still didn't accomplish anything.  It did not help that I spent it standing in Penn's Landing, staring at the Ben Franklin bridge trying to distract myself. 

Once I returned to the car, I thought about how I felt. Have you ever felt like you let yourself down for not being who you wanted to be by that age? Have you been mad at yourself for not thriving like those your age?  I'll raise both my hands because this is me. 

I remember turning 30 last year telling myself that I had several goals I needed to reach by December 10, 2017 and had a plan to achieve them. There I stood on that exact date feeling completely vulnerable. I learned that I have spent so much of my time focused on helping others and not on myself.  I realized that I needed to forgive myself for stumbling through the year and I also learned that I am human and no matter what I say or feel, I have my own limits and that's okay. 

I logged into my blog and realized that I have not blogged since October. Last year, I promised myself that I would be blogging full time and blossoming with my photography. Yet, I spent 2017, feeling incredibly unqualified that I did not feel like I was good enough. I constantly compared myself with other bloggers. Comparing yourself is so unnecessary but it’s our norm.  I told myself I would blog every week and that definitely did not happen. I was not anticipating everything that happened in 2017 that left my feeling defeated on my own birthday. I have cried, I have screamed , I have shut down, I have prayed. Shortly after my birthday, I went through an experience where someone broke into my apartment and stole some of my equipment and personal items. You never expect to feel so violated and feel like you are not getting a break in life. This has tested my faith where I have been mad at God on my good days then my bad days  because I didn't understand.  I've had to take a step back and realize that I am not in control and accept that I can't predict how I will react to situations. I have my questions and I have doubt. Yes, I know doubt is not of God but being a Christian is hard and living in a constant sense of doubt is where I am right now. 

For 2018, I promised myself that I will work on spiritual growth. My faith is important to me. I mad a decision back in 2016 during one of Pastor Steven Furtick's sermons that I would put my life in the hands of our Creator despite not understanding the process. I still don’t understand what my purpose is but again I have to trust the process.  I am throwing myself deep into some reading because I need to focus on working within. I'm not perfect but I know what I am capable of. I know I have a skill in photography and I love being behind a camera. Motivating myself is a struggle everyday. I realize that I don't have my laptop and I have lost some projects I was working on and I get in my feelings. Unfortunately I can’t afford to immediately replace my equipment and immediately the feeling of being unqualified returns.  I need to work on myself ... I will not be able to give my best if I am not happy with my current situation. Digging into the scripture has helped! 

Psalm 23:3 (ESV) “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” 

2018 will be a different year.  I know for certain that it will be a time of restoration and I plan on speaking that into existence. Be very careful who you share your goals with because not everyone wants to see you grow. 

xo, Live BOLDLY!

Adi

 

 

In the World of " I Am & You Are"

I am pretty

I am ugly

I am smart

I am stupid

I am worthless

I am successful

Admit it.. You have started a sentence using one of these worlds in your life. Actually let's break it down and say that you probably used one of these words within the last couple minutes. You may have remembered a text you sent or an argument you had and immediately started with the " I AM".

We live in a world where everyone has an opinion.  Sadly, our lives have become consumed with the idea of I AM.  Everyday we wake up speaking negatively about ourselves and wonder why we are in a bad mood by the time we get to work.  I'll admit that last week was a tough week for me and I spent most of the week trying to talk myself out of so many things. I made it to Friday, came home feeling like I ran a marathon and by Saturday... I am sitting at the island of my parent's house crying my eyes out to my mother about how worthless I felt. 

Many don't understand what your daily struggles are.  I struggle with not feeling like I've achieved what I've wanted by 30. While other are married with children, I spent seven years in a relationship that almost destroyed me.  Almost three years since the end of that relationship and I am still putting out fires.  I work a full time job that I love BUT I am not fully in love with.  It's difficult to live a life you may feel you are not living to the fullest. 

Now think of this, you wake up thinking " I hate this job, I have no choice. I don't want to go but I have bills to pay. I am just here. I am just ..." 

I'm not telling you it's easy but think about it... how many people are talking about you. How many individuals are labeling you to be something you are not.  " You are not right for this job, You are not the right person I want to date,  You are not good enough, You are not pretty enough, You are dumb, You are ... You are.. You are".  This is a lifestyle change truthfully. You can only listen to yourself speak negatively for so long. After that is said and done, what has that accomplished? Nothing right?

It's your job to speak positivity into your own lives. 

I am a fighter

I am strong

I am confident

I am built for this

I got this

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We live in a world that will ALWAYS try to tell you who and what you are. It's your JOB to live the best life you can and forget the rest. We have ONE life to live.  We can not stop people from labeling us but we can control how their words affect us. As Pastor Steven wrote in this book " Unqualified"  : - Keep Walking, Do another lap. You are growing. You're not perfect yet, but you're in a process, and that's what matters most. 

I felt this post was important to share.  I challenge all of you to do something for yourself this week. Be realistic with your expectations. Okay, you spent the last ten years loving someone who broke your heart... now you know what NOT to accept when it comes to love.  Okay, you spent the last 17 years at a job that you didn't love.. okay well now you can write that book you have been wanting to write. We all have to start somewhere. START NOW. 

Focus on your own goals and your own " I AM"

Don't let those " You are" statements stop you from dreaming. 

I promise you.... YOU GOT THIS! 

 

Live Boldly

xo

A

 

DO YOU BOO

This blog post came to be after today’s church service when Pastor Levi Lusko was preaching about swiping right. This world is so keen on swiping left or right on a dating app versus sitting down and meeting people the old fashion way. I tried it and I can tell you I found nothing interesting about it. I met some guys who initially were fun to talk to then I got annoyed. Honestly, I get annoyed that they couldn’t carry a conversation. I really hit my breaking point, when I told them that I commuted from Philadelphia to NYC every day for work . One guy immediately labeled me UNDATEABLE. He really did type that in caps because I was hard of reading apparently. This got me thinking how easy people dismiss you when they don’t agree with your choices  including friends and family. 

 

When I was 16, I began dabbling in photography.  My parents bought me a fujifilm camera that to me was the best thing ever. I took pictures of everything and at the same time was into make up. My mother allowedy first two MAC lipsticks and I was on a roll. Around that time, I also got into graphic designing and ROCK music. This led me to fall in love with the band FUEL led by Brett Scallions. My Mother will confirm that I played Hemorrhage over and over and that song ended up being the first song I learned to play on my guitar. After Brett left FUEL, he joined a band called The X’s with John , Mike and Cupcake ( Chris G). These guys especially John gave me the chance to play around with my graphic designing. My graphic designs ended up being used by the band on t-shirt, posters and even on their website.  This was almost 11-13 years ago.    I spent a lot of nights awake until 7am  the next morning, practicing with my camera and editing. This is how you learn... going out spending money on an expensive camera is pointless. Asking someone to teach you and get upset when they don’t have the time to? It’s nothing personal. It seems that everyone wants to be number one by skipping steps. 

Let’s fast forward to 2017, where I have stepped up my photography, taken on blogging and invested in my editing tools.  Now I’ve encountered critics in all aspects. The world of photography and blogging is over saturated. Everyone wants to be a blogger and everyone wants to call themselves a photographer. You have to really keep in mind about several things:

-Not everyone will understand your visions

 - You don’t have to pay someone to teach you your craft

- Patience is learned  

- Being fake and perfect isn’t real

- BE REAL

- It’s not all about the likes  

 

Ultimately, you have to DO YOU. You will have people who you call friends all of sudden buy a camera and think they are a photographer. You will have people in your life not want to work with you but others. People will dismiss your work because it’s not part of their style. These are the same people who you have spent encouraging to follow their dreams but end up borrowing yours.  In the world we live in these days, not everyone hitting the like button is cheering you are. These are same people who are ultimately glued to your instagram trying to see what you are working on. This week I saw it all from people I called friends. People who not once supported my ideas or skills but went ahead and thought it was okay to borrow an idea we spoke about four/five years ago... simply because “ I don’t see you doing anything with it” 

 

DO YOU BOO. You need to focus on your own grind and no one elses. Instagram makes everyone feel like they have to compete when you don’t. Not everyone has the same story.  I know my story is not similar to another bloggers but it doesn’t take away that we both have two different purposes for our platforms.   Perfect whatever craft you have and live it as you are already a success. I realized a lot this week that not everyone wants to see you succeed and not everyone wants the best for you. People are very self absorbed and narcissistic and only care about being number one.  

I am not saying no one will support you but out of everyone I know. I can honestly say that I can only count those people on one hand who consistently supported and encouraged my journey. Those moments where I felt I wasn’t good enough, They are always yelling at me via text message to not give up. These are the “Junes” of the world, so surround yourself with those people and settle for nothing less.  

 

Live Boldly! 

xo

A

I'm Fine But I'm Not Ready..

We all have that one moment in our life when things changed. A death of a family member, a break up, a job loss, a divorce.. the list could go on and on but these events have lead to you closing yourself off to the world.  I always refer back to my past relationship and always played the blame game of it being the cause of the change in events in my life. I lost my creativity, my neutral perspective but overall compassion to just accept things for what they were.  

I became the cynical, control freak of a woman who stared at you from a far questioning your intentions. I closed myself off from the world because what would they know... right? They didn't live that event with you.. how would they begin to understand?  Over the last year, I learned holding onto that mess was pointless. You become that angry person for something that happened and you survived... why keep reliving it? I spent the last several months , as Real Kim talk says putting a do not disturb on my heart and began to let go and just heal.  I'm fine now... or so I thought.

If you have read my previous blog posts, you would know that I am quite stubborn and it takes me a bit to let go.. I have no reasoning why I do this but I do. I kept telling myself I was fine until I realized I wasn't.  I realized I was faking it to make it ... I was still cynical, I still had trust issues, I was still stand off to the side and questioning your intentions, I still didnt listen whole heartedly and I still used my words to offend you to the core.  A single conversation triggered months worth of healing because I was lying to myself.

 

It all came to this... 

I'm fine but I am not ready. I realize that I continue to punish people for things done in the past without even realizing it.  This is not okay, I will damage healthy relationships/friendships because of past experiences. This is not healthy for anyone and it will keep you bound to that one moment in your life when you have plenty of memories to make in front of you. You will lose sight of what's in front of you.. trust me I didn't realize how fast my life was going and I refuse to live in such a blur. 

Point of this post is for many of you to understand that your mind is a hard thing to control. You need to learn how to rule your mind or it will rule you. You will continue to relive every negative thing you've experienced because you have allowed your mind to replay these memories. I need to work on this myself, I spent the last year reliving everything that went wrong without realizing that the first step of change is to realize your own mess. 

Dont pay any mind to what people think. You are your own person and overall... no one is you and that's your superpower. 

Live Boldly - xo,

A

 

 

Change of Expectation

A quality that I usually call a gift and a curse is my level of compassion. Many would disagree and say that my demeanor displays the opposite of that, well you just  don't know me that well. One of the biggest things I struggle with is with my expectations. I am sure you are reading this and going where exactly is she going with this but I promise i will bring it together. 

I care too much. You could be a complete stranger and I will sympathize with you as if I've known you for several years. It is who I am and something that my parents enstilled in me as I grew up. People would argue against this and I will admit why. I am incredibly selective of who I interact with.  As I said before, you could be a stranger and I will be friendly because your vibe is just awesome. I vibe with people who I feel are genuinely good people. I could know you less than a month and want to be there for you every step of the way because that's just how I would want to be treated. Kindness is a simple way of telling another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.  

BUT my expectations are my biggest downfall.  After ending my last relationship, I sought support from my friends. As damaging as it was I was expectant of friends to be there for me during my darkest moments.  This wasn't the case and I spent the months to follow alone and trying to figure out where I was going.  I began to question myself and what I did wrong. Did I wrong them? Are they mad that I didn't text them back? Are they mad I sent their calls to voicemail? Are they mad I didn't like their new photo on Instagram where they look completely opposite or how I am feeling right now? . I tried to pin point why my friends were not acting the way I was expecting them to. I was a great friend, I was a great listener... why haven't I gotten a are you okay text from anyone? .  Let's fast forward to now,  a year later and still asking the questions. I realized that my expectations were too high and I was set on trying to get my friends to think, act and feel like me. When you realize that someone isn't sharing the same level of compassion with you, it's time to move on. 

This has made it's way into my love life. While friends continuously badger me about getting back into dating, I struggle with expectations. I spent eight years in a relationship with everything I said I would never want, so how would I manage my expectations today? Do I know what I want? Am I ready? Do I sound crazy right now?  I struggle with this especially when I am dealing with someone who challenges the hell out of me but I am sitting in that grey area with no clear indication of where things are going.  Your everyday interactions being a hit or miss and you are left thinking is today going to be that one day that may be a good day and the next... well not so much.  I don't have all the answers and I wish I could tell you how to manage a situation similar to mine because I am trying to figure it out as I go. This happens to those who are married and are mothers as well... considering I am neither I can't speak on how that feels.

My point in all this is that a change in expectations is a must.  People change, life changes but it's up to you to control your expectations. We may not get everything we want and we will definitely experience those moments where you are wishing things change but they don't . Sometimes you get to the point that you no longer care if there's a light at the end of the tunnel or not, you are just sick of being in that tunnel. 

William Shakespeare once said "Expectation is the root of all heartache" . It is important to see things for what they are and not what they should be. 

Let go and live BOLDLY!

xo

A

It's Time to Turn The Page..

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If you follow me on Instagram, you can see that this week I've been busy. I took some days off from work and felt the need to work my photography and I am incredibly happy I did.  So often you see others perfecting their craft and you try to talk yourself out of it because you don't have the time. I'll admit that I am the queen of overthinking and excuses. I use the excuse of working and commuting to tell myself that I can't but after this week, I've come to realize that I just can't stop now.  You realize what's important and what isn't while also learning to care less about what other people think of you and more about what you think about yourself. 

I've realized how far I've come and I remember when I thought things were such a mess and that I wasn't going to make it through.  Now I sit here proud of myself and the person I'm fighting to be.  

Now I understand that a lot of you are looking at this post going " that sounds easier than it can be done". I've been that person and trust me you don't want to waste any time worrying about things you didn't have control over. Sometimes you have to accept the truth and stop wasting time on the wrong things. It has been two years since my last relationship and if you knew me personally, you would know that was a very toxic time in my life.  Let's fast forward to now and I still struggle with all the negative things that impacted me after that relationship and everything I still have to deal with. I've spent so much time focusing on WHAT HAPPENED instead of being focused on WHAT IS HAPPENING in my life. This week I've looked back at where I was two years ago and then I looked at how much I've changed and realized that everything was a blur.  I can't stand the fact that my life is going so fast and I'm not really living it. I completely stop working on my photography because I kept telling myself I would be able to pick up the camera and envision anything creative. I am incredibly proud of the photos I've taken this week and with more practice , I will do better. 

It's time TURN THE PAGE... what happened in the past happened and there is nothing we can do to change it.  Some of us are still stuck on that chapter in our life that left us stuck. That chapter isn't meant to define your future, so turn the page. Turn the page to a brand new chapter in your life and go from there.  It's taken me two years to realize that life just dealt me a tough hand and it's my decision to focus on the vision in my mind . I don't want to focus on reliving that should, coulda, woulda.  I want to LIVE BOLDY and never regret any decisions I make from this moment on. 

Start that book you wanted to write. Start that business that you've been planning for years. Start drawing. Start painting. START SOMETHING.  Don't ever think you are not capable of achieving anything because you can. Social Media only gives you a slight idea into people's lives and we will never understand the struggles anyone had to go through before they achieved success.  Everybody wants to be a diamond but very few are willing to get cut. 

If you haven't picked up "Words From A Wanderer" notes and love poems by Alexandra Elle , then I recommend you should. This note perfectly summaries what I wanted you all to take away from this post. 

"Dear Self, 

You have been doubted, hated, talked about , made fun of, hurt, lied to, lied on, broken and at your wits end. With that being said, I commend you for the fact that you are still standing. Your courage speaks volumes! I know your struggle and the pain yo've endured. You are more than a conqueror. I am proud to say that your heart belongs to me. Nothing can keep you down and no one can steal your joy. All of your storms have ended blessing the sky with rainbows. Don't give up, continue to stand tall and love yourself first.

You are appreciated, 

Self"

LIVE BOLDLY, you won't regret it

xo

Adi

It is all in Perspective...

The last couple months have been rough for me. I tend to get a burst of creativity and then it disappears. I can't seem to grasp why this happens but I am pretty sure I drive myself crazy trying to figure it out. Yesterday, I decided to go back a walk through Pennypack Park, local park here in Philadelphia to unwind and clear my mind. I haven't really touched my camera in weeks because I didn't know what to do with it, BUT I brought it with me.  

See, I've been in my head a lot lately and have been feeling incredibly defeated and unqualified of being a blogger or photographer. I thought about everything that I wasn't instead of everything I was seeing. I walked past this one area along the path and I had to stop. To those local homeowners, this spot is just a bunch of trees but to me, this was an amazing photo opportunity. I realized that my perspective was off.  You can't necessarily control what people will say about you and you definitely can not control their opinions. You can only control your own mindset and shift your mind. 

This photo was not easy to shoot. I had to set up the tripod and take test shoots to make sure that the colors were right. I also had a hard time accepting to be in front of the camera. I was in a toxic long term relationship that left with doubting my self confidence and I only share this because several people share this feeling so often after a breakup.  I struggle with the weight I gained during that time but I realized that just like this spot along the path, I was trying to make myself just blend in the background and go unnoticed.  

As Pastor Steven Furtick said " The reason you're stuck may not be because of what you don't have but because of what you have that you're not using" 

I may feel unqualified to be a blogger or a photographer but I have a God given gift.  What gifts/talents do you have that you are not using?

You may be telling yourself you are not good enough but you need to realize that everything you are experiencing at this moment, whatever it is, is exactly what you need for your personal growth. Trust the process. 

xo

Adi

 

Maybelline Great Lash Royal Blue and Unstoppable Kohl Liner in Onyx

I had a great time trying out these products. I'm part of the Influenster community and was sent these products for free to test and review. 

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Since the weather began to change, I decided to change up my make up routine and incorporate these products. I have been a fan of the ELF pen liner for the past year, so I was a bit worried about trying something new but there were some good and bad things about these products. 

First, the Maybelline kohl liner was easy to use and apply for the first time.  I commute two hours from PA to NYC so I try to use a makeup sealer to keep my makeup from smearing with the heat. This kohl liner did not make the trip with out ending up looking like a raccoon. I had to wipe it off and re-apply twice (on the train and again when I got to work).  Personally for me this was a fail as with my oily skin it does not stay on for a long period of time. 

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Second, the mascara was a lot of fun. Being that it was royal blue I LOVED IT because of the color alone. I love being bold with my makeup and this mascara was fun to use. The royal blue color was not as visible on me as I wanted but If you looked up close you could see the color. This mascara lasted an entire eight hour shift and four hours of commuting.  Some days I would go without eyeshadow and used extra mascara for a pop of color.  The color wore well with my brown eyes and I would encourage you guys to try it out! 

 

Thank you to Maybelline and Influenster for letting me review these products!

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xo

Adi

10 Things About Myself

Do I know you?

I'm relaunching my blog and I'm incredibly excited about it. The last couple months have been a rollercoaster and I will admit that I neglected my blog.  So in the spirit of connecting with those of you who read my blog, I wanted to share 10 things about myself.. 

Let's begin.

1. I was born in Puerto Rico

Most people would actually assume I was born in the US. I was born in Ponce, Puerto and Spanish was my first language. I came to live in Philadelphia when I was two years old and the rest was history. 

2. I speak two languages

Being that Spanish was my first language, I learned English early in life. I don't have an accent but I can speak it fluent Spanish. It has been a lifesaver for myself and fellow co-workers. I've been dragged into the room for translation plenty of times. Let me say this... the stories that I've had to translate have been a trip. No one would honestly believe me but I'll digress.

3.  I get bored easily

As a true Sagittarius, I get bored very easily.  I have to constantly be doing something and can be very one track minded. I'm working on this but I'm still a work in progress. 

4. I'm a Photographer

I love photography and I'd like to commit to my photography full time at some point. 

5. I work in New York City

When the opportunity to work in NYC came around, I did NOT hesitate to take it. It has always been a dream of mine to work in NY and I've accomplished that. I love the work that I do that I commute from Philadelphia to NYC every day. My commute is about two hours but I've been doing it for a year now and I've grown to love it. A lot of great things have come out of commuting and I'll never say I hate it.  Would I love to live in NYC? Absolutely, once that opportunity arrives, I will. 

6. I love Jesus

I do. I make no excuse about it. He has brought me through a storm of depression and led me to the most amazing group of people I have ever met. I am not saying I am perfect. I am compassionate but I still have problems cursing... yes I curse.. I'm still a work in progress and he knows that. 

7. I actively volunteer with Elevation Church

I came across a video from Pastor Steven Furtick back in July 2016 while I was going through a serious depression. Eight months earlier, I had ended a draining 8 year relationship that left me broken emotionally, physically and mentally.  I began to follow Pastor Steven on Instagram which led me to his live streaming worship experiences. After watching for about a month, I reached out and decided to volunteer.  I serve as an online chat room host for the Elevation Church youtube channel on Sundays.  I have also been blessed to lead an e-Group of amazing women who mean the world to me. 

8. I love MUSIC

I simple can't live without music. While I type this blog post, I'm listening to the 80's rock playlist on Spotify.  I live for 80's rock especially bands such as Journey, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Skid Row, Aerosmith, Poison, Warrant etc. I am also a fan of country music..( I can hear the laughs now). My music ranges as I can listen to Reggaeton and Salsa and jump right into a guitar solo listening to Journey. Trust me, It has happened. I am also a fan of The Weeknd and Bruno Mars.

9. I love to Paint

After my grandfather passed away in 2010, I lost my creative outlets. My grandfather was the artist in the family, so sitting with him and watching him draw boats was something i loved doing. After his passing, I slowly began to find things to keep my mind from missing him.. painting helped. I have two paintings in my living room that I painted and I have to say I'm pretty proud of. 

10. I live for Fashion and Makeup

... some would call this a shopping addiction. (GUILTY) I live for a bright bag to match my lipstick. I take a considerable amount of time in getting ready in the morning. I love makeup and being able to play with colors. I love to wear black because I am more of a BOLD BAG AND MAKEUP kind of gal. If you want to gift me clothes... make sure it's BLACK. I'll accept floral print too.. see I can compromise. :) 

 

I hope this new blog post helps you understand the girl behind the blog. 

 

xo

Adi