Sites to bookmark on your laptop

sites to bookmark on your laptop

Happy March! Two months in and so far, smooth sailing. I want to share with you some sites that have really helped in keeping my eye-lids open, between topic research for dissertations, messing with my schedule and novel readings for class. If you enjoy life stories, humor, fashion, or easy go-to's for some day-to-day advice on anything, then I'm sure one of these sites will be sitting on your safari tab permanently....as they are for me. So, leggo.

New York Times Modern Love

I rave about the podcast in a past blog post here. Seriously, the stories depicted carries a mood for every and any emotion. It's sad for time-sake, but two-hours of me reading story after story, can feel like two-minutes has just passed. If you like stories, writing, inspiration or something to read on a short ride somewhere, you should give this site a go.

Pure Wow

Absolutely love this site. Now that I think of it, I don't even know how I began reading this site. I don't remember signing up for them but I do remember notification emails starting to role in one month... and apparently the rest is history, I guess. Any who, this site carries a spectrum of topics on day to day articles. Recipes, stories, how-to's...the list is seriously endless. You'll find yourself clicking through the "related article" links nonstop. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Mirrorme

It's just recently I've began to get acquainted with this site and I am hooked. And no, by no means am I a fashion addict nor am I well aquainted with the latest trend (I tend to catch up when they die out to be honest...), but the pieces Fisayo (the author of the blog) display on her site appeal greatly to me, so much so to the point where I take notes on what I'd like to incorporate in my wardrobe.

Career Girl Daily

It's not because I am a contributor to this site...okay, maybe it's a small reason why. Still, I'm a contributor here because the site is really good. A sense of direction, advice or personal experience can be found under CGD. Great tips to take note on and incorporate in your 'here-and-there'.

Hand Luggage Only

I am obsessed. Literally. The places these two have traveled have me holding my seat and pouting my lip asking myself "Why can't I do that?!".

Jealously? Hm, no. Inspired? Definitely!

These travelers are truly adventurous and a lot of fun. If you want to go somewhere but have no idea where to start, check them out. The list of places they've traveled to is vast and the activities and places to see is a longer list. If you're lucky, they probably have an itinerary for you.

Nettle & Blackberry

This is a blog site I genuinely look forward to every week. Or just every-other-day to be honest. There is something about this blog that has me gravitate to it's presence. The writer is young and adventurous, and her writing tone carries a breath of fresh air with a hint of causality. Feels like I'm sitting down over some coffee, speaking with a friend over a specific topic. And so... this site remains open on my safari tabs. Absolutely adore this one.

So yeah, I'm going to keep these tabs open for awhile. What do you keep bookmarked on your laptop?

My morning-Waterloo-bridge-poadcast-listening-commute

My morning-Waterloo-bridge-poadcast-listening-commute

My commute to campus most days is thirty-minutes, give or take. And since moving to the UK's capitol, I've been walking from place to place, and that I value the those thirty-some minutes. You can pretty much say that everything is pretty much close by. Oh, and then there's the whole notion of getting lost and finding your way around. But once you've found your landmark, you are set. Easy Peasy.  

Still, in between walking, sight-seeing, working and studying I still find myself gravitating towards listening to a podcast or two...sometimes even three. Or four. Okay, you get the point. I have officially shifted from the iTunes playing in my ears, to listening to a story, a discussion or sometimes a commentary. It's been months, and my list has grown exponentially. But here are just a couple I've been listening to lately.

1. Invisibilia

I finished the episodes to this podcast awhile ago, and am waiting on the new season to begin. The podcast plays on a discussion or story about what we see and what we don't see in our day-to-day lives...but not in the way one may think of it as. It evaluates people's lives and even shocks the listener in the unexpected. There are a couple that come to mine, such as the blind-man who can see (that episode is really good) or even the women who does not feel pain and who's identity is never revealed. Do start from the beginning when listening to Invisibilia. It progresses beautifully. I just hope they come out with a new season very soon...very very soon.

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2. Modern Love

I heard about this podcast back in December, and I've listened to every single one of the stories. AH-mazing. The objective is to give voice to the New York Times section called Modern Love, where writers all over the world submit their stories of different experiences after which are read by actors, producers or people of influence. And the stories are fascinating. Sad, happy, ambivalent and touching to hear. Definitely a podcast to give a listen to.

3. Brant & Sherri

Growing up, I've come to discover a couple of things about myself- a misfit-quiet-quirky-Christian-woman. Not a classification, just a to-the-point description of myself. You can say I'm not one to "fit in"...and it's not that I try to (I don't have no time for that *snap *snap). It's just who I am. So, listening to a podcast delivered by two grown people- a single African-American woman and a married Caucasian man, about jokes, beliefs and culture make me smile and snaps me back to reality of "No, Raè...you are not the only one". A welcoming podcast of people from every and any origin. It's a different type of podcast, but a branching out I think you'll enjoy.

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4. The Receipts

This podcast is a must for women....I think so anyway. Four woman who personifies unique characteristics that contribute well to the podcast. You are bound to find the person who you connect with the most while learning from the experiences of all four. I enjoy it so much because it's funny and I can relate to each person's characteristic more or less; funny, cheeky, philosophical and rational. 

The podcast talks about different situations in life, the experiences faced by each woman and how to go about dilemma's faced by the listeners of the podcast. Hilarious, heart-warming and a discussion to give a listen to now and again.

5. This American Life

Does this podcast need an introduction? ...I didn't think so. I question if this podcast is older than me because Ira resurrects stories that he hosts from when I was three. So, I guess that's where I'll begin. This American Life has been interviewing people and dividing into the lives of many all over the world. Also, by no means does it focus solely on the United States. One of the many reasons why I enjoy it so much.The stories range pretty wide- from a man winning a green card, to a woman who had aided American camps in her country, yet is denied to enter the United States itself. The reasons are complex and the stories make you want to clutch-your-perls. You get a glimpse and sometimes even a feel of what it is people go through in their lives. I will say, my favorite story is the "Uganda be kidding me". I won't tell you what it's about, but I will say it's something one can say is common, and pretty funny.  A must listen to...and when you do, let me know your reaction in the comments. It had me chucking all day.

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6. Three shots of Tequila

If you see me walking the Waterloo bridge smiling and laughing at myself like a madman it's because of this podcast. Here you have three, sometimes four or five, men who discuss their thoughts on relationships, women and figure out what they would do in different scenarios that challenge thoughts and beliefs. 

The language is pretty vulgar- not something I would use from day to day, but the opinions and thoughts of these men are fairly interesting but forever hilarious. Each bring their personal stories and sense of character to the table. I don't agree with a number of their opinions, what I truly appreciate is the authenticity of this podcast. Sure, they forget to introduce themselves until it's either half-way into the discussion, or once even at the very end of the podcast, but their opinions are deep and their topics are true. And my personal favorite is when Marvin says to himself "I'm gunna lose it" if there is something he (a) does not like or (b) is shocked by in a topic that comes to surface in the podcast. A podcast to listen to, be amused and give some thought to. 

7. Death, Sex & Money

Don't let the title intimidate you. Yes, I clutched-my-pearls, but then I let them go. This particular podcast is different in the sense that the host asks hard questions. Deep, personal, hard, questions that illustrate the "let's-get-to-the-deep-point" type emotions. It's story based, personal, intimate and very deep. Sometimes a bit heavy for an early morning commute, but most of the time something to give thought about and take in. A must listen!

What podcasts are you listening to? 

That one comment

That one comment

I contribute to a couple of blogs, and as a writer, the diversity of topics excite me. Advice, stories, thoughts- the whole bit. And, I've never really paid any mind to the comment section because, two things- one, there isn't much to read, and two I haven't really thought of reading them. So yesterday...literally yesterday, I decided to take a look at a post published on one of the sites I write for. I was pleased with the edits along the neat aesthetics. Overall, I was happy. There I was, scrolling down, reading what I wrote, and self-critizing my tone took me all the way to the final line of the post...which in turn lead me to the comment section. And there they stood two comments- one that was short and another that was pretty lengthy. So I read both.

Sigh...why did I do that? Any who...

I'm sitting in my studio thinking to myself "this is new!" Except it's not...this is in no way new. But, for me it was. The short comment was polite. However, the lengthy one was pointless and passive aggressive. I fund myself making an expression of pure confusion (confirmed by the mirror to my left) followed with a verbal reply of "Psh. Bye Felicia". I pondered for a good minute...and proceeded to check my emails that night.

My point is, it's pretty innate in us to give focus to negativity. One hundred people could say sweet and encouraging things to us, but it takes that one comment...that one voice of pester to produce a reaction. That one lonesome comment to bring us down. And sure this may sound a bit over the top, but it's true.

This one comment didn't necessarily bring me down. I didn't cry. I didn't pout. None of that. It was more like a fly on the wall I wanted to swap out the room, but after looking at it, I ended up opening the window to let it out when it wanted to. Still, my reason for writing this post, is to understand that this is only the beginning. Granted I've been told I couldn't do many things by people who claim to have x-amount of degrees from whatever institution,  and who sit, teach, judge do research all day. What do I do? I blink at those people, smile and say "you have a nice day"...and swiftly walk away. Sure, I'll dash a some sass in my tone here and there. But occurrences like this have happened one or two at a time. Never at whole...not yet anyway. So...when I think about it all- writing, growing and deconstructive comments...this could be all be a test run, or even a warm up before the big race.

The better it gets, the harder things become. I think the question for me is, am I ready for what is to come. January was my test run and February was the rise to my stepping stone. And I have a feeling March will get even harder.

Ready?...time will tell. Now, I may just have to think about that.

A visit to the GP...

Grapefruit, ginger, tea and some rest

Grapefruit, ginger, tea and some rest

cocoa for treatment

cocoa for treatment

I've never really enjoyed visiting the doctor. The touchy-touchy, the pokes, the bandages, all that good stuff. Not about it. So, it's when the illness is just way overbearing that my stubbornness subsides and I drag my feet to a doctor's visit. But, remember last month when I was really really really sick? (Do notice the emphasis on really) After healing from that, I vowed to be more attentive to my health and to not take it likely (experience is the best teacher they say...). And with that, I see it best to visit the doctor in the beginning of any and every illness when necessary. 

This particular visit though.... Let's just say things were a bit, off. Hmmm, I'm trying to think, where do I begin? I guess characteristic is a good stepping stone...or the beginning does just as well too. I'll begin with a four word summary. The dude was rude. R-U-D-E. Point blank period. 

Scratchy throat, blocked nose, liquified ear canals...this cold was creeping on me, and I wanted to rebuke it. But this nurse did not help. I call in the morning and set up an appointment with the GP I conversed and had an appointment with last time. My very first appointment with her was friendly, and pretty informative. Except, after waiting over half an hour, that GP did not call my name from the waiting room. Manuel* did (*No....that's not the nurse's real name). I walked into the office, closed the door and took a seat. And then he began to speak. He had a tone that was very uniformed...too military-like. As if I was to be treated like a drill. Those two descriptions where the first to pop in my head, but I sense that description probably does no justice to give you an adequate picture. How do I explain this better?....Hmmm. Okay. You know when you want to speak to customer service on the phone and you have to go through the touch-tone teller and you end up enunciating to make sure the machine hears you say "I do" instead of "I don't"? Yeah...that was the voice of this guy. Dead. Cold. And to the point. He sounded a little something like this...

"My name is so-and-so.... I am a nurse here at "insert place here".... What seems to be the problem?... Yes, of course, it is common for students to feel that sickness at this time... Yes, you have a virus. Your sickness will by-pass. You should be fine. Okay."

Again, typing this probably does his tone zero justice, so I want to emphasize, his tone was stoic, unfriendly....D-E-A-D. Also, what I quoted is basically how the doctor's visit went. But allow me to guide you step by step. Relax, I'm not "spilling tea"...just getting specific. That's all.

Okay, back to the beginning. After I am asked the reason for my visit, I reply with an explanation of current symptoms and what it is I have a good feeling of what to expect in a couple of days.

"This morning I woke up with a pretty soar throat and blocked nose. My ears are a tad muffled and I'm not feeling all that well. [I sneeze twice and say "Excuse me!"] These symptoms have appeared before and they usually follow with severe coughing, difficulty breathing through my nose and a severe ear infection. The last time I was not given antibiotics, but I am really hoping to stop this before it worsens."

I finish. He types and looks at the screen of his computer. This follows with a nodding of the head and a pretty shallow response. 

"Yes, of course, it is common for students to feel that sickness at this time of the semester. This is not new" He said this in a "no-duh" type-voice....very monotone and withdrawn.

Hmmm... okay? I mean, you didn't have to have a tone. I'm sure I had a taken aback expression because my eyes squinted a bit, pulling the right corner of my lip towards my right ear. Thinking about it now, you can say I looked like I was smiling, though I was not. Quickly, the expression disappeared into a fest of sneezes. And the mate just sat there as if he was waiting on the bus to show up. Starring. Didn't offer tissues. Didn't offer a "Bless you". He was just...there. Also, allow me to say, I am not looking for sympathy...not one bit. But I did, and still do, expect a sense of will to help when I do visit the doctor. Something I find common in most, if not all of my visits. Except, there was no sense of will to do anything in this nurse.    

After that comment, I'm not sure how long the delay lasted, but it took the nurse some minutes to continue with the appointment. So anyway, he proceeded to check my throat, my ears, my nasals and place pressure on the bottom of my chin. He asked a couple of questions, and when I did not understand him (remember, liquified ears!), he raised his voice in a "can-you-hear-me-now?" type voice, with a dash of annoyance in his tone. Then, there was absolute silence

He typed my answers on his computer, scribbled something on his notepad, and repeated the back-and-forth a second time. After all that, he came up with a startling conclusion of three words. "You seem fine".

SKRTPause. Bruh. You have GOT to be kidding me.

Right before belting out a cough I replied. "I'm not" 

"You should be" he counteracted. 

Eh? What the....I should be? What does that even mean? And the vex-ocity on my face. Fam. (Yes, the Brooklynite-partically-Londonized language is leaking because I was not having it). I looked at him, waiting for the joke to stop...except he was not joking.

He looked back at me through his Harry-Potter-shaped glasses, blinked twice, typed something on his computer, glanced at his watch and looked back at me. In that exact order. That's when I realized....I needed to get the heck out of there. This dude wasn't going to help me. This was a rode block needed to be swerved. So after a two-minute exchange on the appointment and how to move forward in how to "heal", I made a half-smile, picked up my things, said thank you and took off. 

You would think someone qualified would be able to help you in some way. Unfortunately that was not the case here. Sure, it was Monday. It was noon-time. The office was packed. Different factors play into reactions to anyone. (You see...still making excuses for people...need to work on that!) But that doesn't mean I deserved the cold shoulder shrugged towards me when I was in search for some help. Not cool.

Really though... "you should be [fine]"...Seriously...do you have feelings? Made of stone much? Are you mad? You alright there mate? After making the decision to write about this, I ran to my studio, opened a bottle of lemon juice, mixed it with some honey, and got to work. In the end, I phoned my mother and quickly, she snapped me back to the Haitian remedies I grew up on- tea, salt, a couple of ingredients I can't spell and some rest. To that I say, "Thanks ma." 

And with that, I end with a message to a particular-special-amazing-"since-high-school-days" friend of mine who is actually studying to be a nurse herself. Yvonne...please don't act like this...I know you won't. You would never treat a patient like this. I just had to mention that.

How do you look forward to your GP visits?

Day of excuse & adoration

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Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day...which ever you prefer...still, happy Tuesday! And what other way to celebrate than to pat yourself on the back, in admiration to yourself. You may have noticed the title for one. Sure, I made a little improvisation and mixed it with a dash of egoism. Why not? 

It may seem silly, but I personally like to view today as a second birthday to myself. Not all the time, but now-and-again I do. I haven't even reached the month where I turn 23 and 1/2, but today is a day where I can use the excuse of treating myself to something I like. A beautiful excuse in itself. A mask, a cupcake, a walk...whatever I want. Granted, cha girl isn't feeling well at the moment, so I may have to take it easy for a bit. And it's not even that Valentine's Day and I have this awkward-evade-and-avoid-eye-contact-type relationship. I'm pretty content on the fourteenth of February and I don't tend to make a huge deal of it. It's normally a day were my friends and I would celebrate each other, and make excellent use of all the chocolate in sight. Not the healthiest choice but, it is what it is.

Still, I also see no harm in treating yourself simultaneously. And, I say this out of self-care, self-adoration and self-appreciation...not out of arrogance...no. It's easy to quickly forget about our wellbeing because of day-to-day responsibilities. For example, I normally find myself in the library with a plan to study and leave at noon, except I tend to leave at sometime around six and sometimes even later. It's only recently I thought it make sense to make sure I am well before extending myself to my to-do list (and yes, It took being sick abroad to have this idea drill into my head). Not just once-in-awhile, but all the time. Taking my vitamins, eating well, exercising (even when I don't want to), reading my daily devotion, writing my honest thoughts, and even making sure my skin isn't cracking (girl...take care of your skin snap* snap*) are essentially how I know I need to look after myself. And if you want, dashing this with an added treat once in awhile is something fine to do. I'm not saying to break the bank for a Gucci bag. That wouldn't be treating yourself...that's forgetting you have bills to pay. it's not that serious. Stay within means, of course, but also recognize yourself. So, go ahead...and use today as an excuse.  

As for moi, I'm going to go artsy-fancy on my nails, drink lemon juice and honey (this cold needs to banish), begin reading a book I've had on my shelf for days, and maybe even redecorate my work space. But for now, I'm off to treat myself to a session with a trainer...who I know will in no way go easy on me. But I know it will treat me good to some degree. And with that I say, happy day of excuse & adoration to you! 

How do you plan to spend your day today?