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I’m Officially A Viking

Does anyone need a GRE study book because… I DON’T NEED MINE ANYMORE! I was officially accepted into the Master of Public Administration program at Cleveland State University (CSU).

Some of you may know that I was taking graduate school classes last year. I was advised to take a few courses as a non-degree seeking student to see if I liked the program and also to see how I’d perform. I did two non-degree semesters, two classes each, and I  LOVED them! I managed to end with a 3.75 GPA, which confirmed that I should definitely apply for degree seeking status.

To be extremely candid with you all, my undergraduate GPA was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! I did just enough to graduate. Which, unless you plan on going to graduate school or entering a program like Teach for America, is completely acceptable. This was a roadblock for me, though, because nine years after undergrad, I wanted to go to graduate school. This meant that I absolutely needed to score well on my GRE if I wanted to get in.

The GRE has three sections, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing. This test is hard to study for, to be quite honest. I used the GRE study book to teach me tactics and vocabulary. It showed me exactly what to look for when reading a passage and answering the multiple choice questions. I listened to vocabulary podcasts to and from work, which is a debatable use of effective study time because I do not believe I saw any of the words on the actual test, but you never know what you’ll get. One thing I knew for sure is that I would still struggle taking this exam regardless what I did to prepare.

Now, I’m not very good at math so I knew that the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the GRE would be my lowest score. I took the advice of one of the staff at CSU. She said to take my statistics (stats) classes first, during non-degree, because students sometimes prolong graduation because they save the stats classes for last and cannot move forward. I took both of the stats courses that I needed prior to taking the GRE and aced them! I think this helped to balance my GRE score, allowing me to be admitted in the end. For anyone looking to apply to graduate school and may in the same boat as I was, I highly suggest going this route and getting the more difficult classes out of the way. I can be a procrastinator at times but in this case, I’m glad I fought the urge to wait on it.

As I was driving to the GRE test, I had a talk with myself. I literally said out loud, “Daisha, you will not know all of the answers so, do not freak out when you have to guess.” This actually helped to ease my mind during the test because I already had it set in my mind that my score will not be perfect and I will just have to pick an answer regardless if I knew it or not. You get your scores before you leave, with the exception of the Analytical Writing section since someone has to actually read it before it’s graded. I was semi-pleased with my scores but that did not stop me from stalking the CSU website for my acceptance or rejection for the next two weeks.

CSU is so amazing because they actually called me when a decision was made. I was so excited to get the call that I was accepted and I really appreciated the personal touch of hearing it over the phone. A couple of days later, I received my official acceptance letter. It felt so good to see it in writing!

I start classes next month and I am SO EXCITED! I actually look forward to hanging out at the coffee shop all day, doing research and writing papers, sitting in class with my new peers, having discussions and just overall using my brain a lot more than usual. What I am most looking forward to is walking across the stage in my cap and gown, showing my son how important higher education is.

I will definitely write more blogs about my graduate school experience and post vlogs on my YouTube channel. However, if any of you are thinking about graduate school or even undergrad, please reach out, I would love to connect with you all on any questions you may have. ❤

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A Fresh Take On The New Year

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A lot of us look at the new year as a new beginning, but fresh starts can happen at any given moment. I’ve always viewed January 1st as just another day because I’d wake up in the same bed, with the same job I had the day before and still using the same excuse of why I didn’t hit the gym! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The changes I make in my life are typically spontaneous.

Now, I’m not a New Year’s Grinch. I love to celebrate the holiday, and I’m still excited for 2018! Next year, I will finally be even closer to starting the Master of Public Administration program, and my shows come back from winter break! Woo Hoo! I’ve just never been eager for a year to end for some reason. My outlook is, you don’t need a new year to debut the new you! Here’s how to adopt this mindset:

Start fresh on a Monday!

Hell, start fresh on a Thursday! If you’ve fallen off the gym wagon, have been eating terribly or just feeling like you need to reorganize your life, start at that moment. Postponing change for the start of a year is just a waste of time and could lead to even more procrastination.

Leave the toxic people in your past now!

I often see posts on social media about leaving certain people in, *insert current year here*. No, leave them now! Toxic friendships and relationships need to end immediately for your well-being and the sake of personal growth.

New Year’s resolutions are for the birds!

Reflect on your personal goals as they come and plan out how you will achieve them at that moment. No new year required! Also, you won’t feel like you’ve failed your resolution if it’s something you’re continuously working on. Revisit your goals frequently, make a list of possible solutions and decide what works and what doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with being a work in progress.

Don’t use the year to victimize yourself!

A year cannot impact you at all. A year is a calendar of days and the number of times it takes for the Earth to make one revolution of the sun. It is in no way related to your struggles. Yes, it’s possible to have a rough year but get to the root of your issues and find realistic solutions. No need to year-shame. What did 2017 ever do to you? 🙄

I’m all about looking for ways to stay motivated and if the “New Year, New Me,” strategy works for you, who am I to tell you any different? I just want to make sure we’re all seizing the day and making the most out of each moment we’re here. You may not have a tomorrow, next month or next year. Act now, Loves!

P.S. Although I’m not a “New Year, New Me,” partaker, I am still entirely against active gym goers who complain about full gyms at the top of the year. Get over yourself! Don’t hate on people trying to make a change. So what if you have to wait for a treadmill or park far away. They may or may not keep their resolution, but your rudeness is not necessary. Instead, offer encouragement to keep going!

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Jacket – Forever 21

Graphic Tee – Target

Jeans – H&M

The Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie Experience Without The Cable

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The holiday season is my FAVORITE time of year! I’m just in an overall amazing mood. There’s decorations everywhere, Christmas music is always playing and the best Starbucks holidays drinks are out. Yum! I also love cozy winter gear. What I love most, though, are the HALLMARK CHANNEL CHRISTMAS MOVIES!

I may be outing myself as a huge loser BUT I can’t even count the amount of hours I spend watching these romantic Christmas movies starring the best C-list celebs! I know not everyone has cable so I have put together a list of Netflix movies that are similar to the ones you can catch on Hallmark:

12 Dates of Christmas 

Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar

This is another Groundhog’s Day/Christmas Everyday type movie and while this theme is a bit overdone, I still LOVED it! Also, Zach Morris is in it! That makes this an instant classic!

Merry Kissmas 

Karissa Lee Staples and Brant Daugherty

Do you miss the extremely attractive Noel Khan from Pretty Little Liars? You can reunite with him for about 90 mins without all of the evil plots and decapitation. (Gross, I know but that’s how he exited PLL.) I promise he survives in this one!

A Christmas Kiss 

 Elisabeth Röhm and Brendan Fehr

A stranger kisses you under a mistletoe located in an elevator you just walked in. Hmm, sounds creepy but they somehow made it look enticing.

Christmas Belle 

Haylie Duff and Nicholas Gonzalez

Listen, Haylie’s acting is not the best but who doesn’t love a corny movie starring one of the gorgeous Duff sisters?

A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale 

Jonathan Bennett and Lexi Giovagnoli

Grool…Drool, whatevs! It’s not October 3rd but, you can catch Jonathan Bennett in with some furry friends and romance. The best combo!

A Christmas Prince

Rose McIver and Ben Lamb

Royalty is all the rage right now with the newly engaged Meghan Markle and Prince Harry plastering the covers of every mag. Continue that theme with this adorable flick!

A Christmas Kiss II

Elisabeth Harnois and Adam Mayfield

If you loved A Christmas Kiss, watch the (completely unrelated) sequel! That mistletoe in the elevator is making more love connections than eHarmony. Jonathan Bennett also plays the super cool best friend in this one. Looks like he’s found himself a life after Mean Girls!

My Santa

 Samaire Armstrong and Matthew Lawrence

An O.C. alum AND a Lawrence brother? Psh, my inner teenage girl is melting! I’m sold on this one already!

These are super cheesy and way too predictable but that’s just the way I like them! Now, get started ASAP! January will be here before you know it!

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Why I Write: Celebrating National Writing Day

For most writers, me included, writing is a release. It’s our art. We do it because it’s our talent and it makes us feel a certain way when we do it. In addition to that, though, here’s a few other reasons why I write:

I write because I have experienced things in my life and I like to share those stories for people who can relate. I like to offer solutions and a different point of view for those seeking insight. I want to inspire millennial women to speak up for themselves, recognize their worth and demand the respect they deserve.

I write because America elected a president who’s inexperienced, disrespectful and unwilling to see beyond his own disturbed mind. I want to show the uninformed Americans that he preys on by spreading “fake news” and encouraging rage, hate and prejudice that they made a mistake and it’s time to correct it.

I write because I know how to score a good bargain and I want to share that information. I want people to save a little cash and still look great. I want people to know to walk to the back of the store, check the clearance first and if they don’t find something with a red tag that they love, then they should work their way up to full price. Duh! 🙂

I write because I want people to know it is possible to care about pop culture and politics. It is realistic to have a passion for both.

I write because I want moms to know that it’s okay if they’re not perfect, it’s okay that they may lose it every now and then and that it’s okay to throw their hair in a messy top knot and handle business in a pair of leggings. #LikeABoss

I write because I want people to know about the shows I watch, the influencers I love and the music that gets me going. They may just love it too.

I could probably write a whole book about the reasons why I write but I’ll stop here. You guys get the point, I’m sure. Writing is something to celebrate and whether writing is your profession, your art to share with the world in your free time or something you do for yourself in a private journal, today is your day! Happy National Writing Day!

-D.O. ❤

My First Brewnuts Experience

My husband has been telling me amazing things about Brewnuts, a Cleveland donut company started by married couple, Shelley and John Pippen. They have only done pop-up shops for the past few years but they now have their own trendy and cute donut bar on the corner of 65th and Detroit in the up and coming neighborhood of Cleveland’s Gordon Square.Brewnuts has only been open a couple of weeks and my husband has already paid them three or four visits. I finally tagged a long with him last Friday. Donuts are my favorite food so I knew I was going to love this place but it exceeded my expectations.

Because of their growing popularity, they can sell out pretty fast before they’re able to replenish. Cleveland was, clearly, more than ready for them to open up shop. I suggest following them on Instagram so you can track their stock before going. They are really good about reporting when they sell out and what time they’ll have more. It was late in the evening when we went so chocolate frosted (with sprinkles), strawberry frosted (with sprinkles) and Fruity Pebbles were all we had to choose from. I went with Fruity Pebbles, of course, and I was NOT disappointed. It was addicting. If I had not eaten dinner right before we arrived, I could have easily eaten two or three of them! Don’t judge me! Like I said, donuts are my favorite food.

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YAAAAAASSSSSS!

Brewnuts is also a bar, giving us the option to order beer or coffee along with their delicious donuts. I am really into the fall season so I also ordered a Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy, although, I was really tempted to order coffee because they brew Phoenix Coffee there. Phoenix is another Cleveland business and it also happens to be my favorite coffee ever!

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This is what Heaven looks like

The space itself is so cute! I’ve been eyeing their awesome, neon pink signs since before they opened. I have got to get more photos there! The inside is fun with cool seating. There are tall and short tables and a comfy couch. It reminds me of a vintage soda shop with a modern spin.They also have some artwork by Glen Infante, owner of Ilthy, yet another Cleveland based business. (Cleveland sounds awesome now that I think about it.) A lot of his pieces include a combination of pop culture and pink frosted donuts so, it’s definitely perfect for Brewnuts.

Even their bathroom is cute! So much pink!

I loved it so much that my husband and I woke up bright and early Sunday morning so we could arrive right at 8:00am when they opened. Since we got there so early, we had more of a variety to choose from. I got that coffee I wanted and scored a pumpkin cheesecake filled donut. My husband ordered his favorite, chocolate frosted. SO GOOD!

I highly recommend hitting up Brewnuts as soon as possible. The service is wonderful, the beer is cold, the coffee is hot and the donuts are to die for! I will say that they are more expensive than your average donut shop but they’re just simply NOT you’re average donut shop. You get what you pay for in this case, I promise you!

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Here’s a mini look into our experience Friday night.

(Video shot and edited by my husband, Eduardo Olmeda)​

-D.O. ❤

Opinion: Why Comparing President Donald Trump to Celebrities Doesn’t Make Sense

Celebrities have been quite outspoken about their negative feelings toward President Donald Trump. The defense of Trump sympathizers is to respond by drawing attention to things these celebrities have done and said. They point out roles they’ve played or materials they’ve written.

Ben Shapiro’s response to Stephen King’s tweet is the example that stands out in my mind, although, I have seen similar comments countless times.

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Now, while I completely agree with Ben that this scene is disturbing and horrific but comparing a horror fiction writer to the leader of the free world is apples to oranges. I also took King’s tweet sarcastically. His mention of a “severely fucked-up mind,” to me, is like he’s also poking fun at himself by referencing the type of mind you’d have to channel to write books like his. I think this went way over Ben’s head. Comparing the man who wrote a fictitious book about a psychotic clown who preys on children to the man who represents the United States of America to the entire world is just asinine.

I have also seen mention of people who adore Hugh Hefner but don’t particularly like President Trump. Yes, Hugh Hefner created a men’s magazine that sexualized women. Yes, he’s had multiple young girlfriends at one time. Hugh Hefner, though, does not make decisions on behalf of the United States of America. Hugh is not the face and the voice of the U.S. Agreeably, Hugh Hefner would have had no place in politics. He was in the entertainment business and people adore him for his place in that particular industry. He is an entertainment icon. What most may not know is, he’s actually a veteran. He was in the Army from 1944 to 1946. While he didn’t spend much time in the military, he voluntarily joined before being honorably discharged. Which is more than we can say about President Trump who avoided the draft. Yes, I just threw a little shade. 😎

Now I’m going to tell you why I am so passionate about these apples to oranges comparisons. Celebrities do not make decisions about our healthcare. Stephen King’s books have zero impact on women’s reproductive rights. Hugh Hefner’s lifestyle has no impact on LGBTQ rights, although he was an advocate for the cause. Neither of them were or ever will be in charge of making decisions about immigration, armed forces, civil rights, the national budget and foreign affairs. The list could go on an on. We’re going to be much more strict on who we have in the oval office than we are on who’s books sit on the shelves of our bookstores and who’s lives we celebrate when they pass.

This comparison makes sense if we’re comparing celebrities to Donald Trump, the reality star, but once he swore in as the President of the United States, actually once he decided to run for office, he was no longer just an entertainer. He is our leader and he needs to represent us with class. He has yet to do so and I hope we continue to hold him accountable for his words and actions until he either changes or is removed from office.

-D.O. ❤