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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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. ❤

I Visited Cleveland City Hall Last Month And It Was Awesome!


A trip to City Hall may not seem like a fun way to spend an afternoon but with my new found passion for government, I was stoked to be there.

I reached out to a family friend, Councilman Zachary Reed of Cleveland’s Ward 2, because my good friend, Deemyi, needed to interview a local political figure for a class assignment. I also wanted to pick his brain a little since I’m looking into a Master’s in Political Science. He, luckily, got back to me that same day and scheduled a meeting with us at the end of March. Deemyi and I were so excited and so grateful.

We took a half-day from work, we’re co-workers as well, and walked over to City Hall in the rain. It was well worth the short, rainy journey as we got a lot of great content and we even ran into Mayor Frank Jackson.

Deemyi is currently studying to obtain her Master’s Degree in Health Education and Promotion. She asked Zachary about his thoughts on the HR 610 bill sponsored by Republican Congressman, Steve King. According to the official Congress website, “The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA’s geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.”

Furthermore, unfortunately, “the bill repeals a specified rule that established certain nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs,” Congress.gov explains. This rule HR 610 would “repeal requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in school meals; and meet children’s nutritional needs within their caloric requirements”. Deemyi does not support the bill for obvious reasons.

Councilman Reed, explained that the he and his colleagues wouldn’t actually be initially involved in finding solutions for the bill if it were to pass. In Cleveland, the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District would be more involved than he would, personally, but he did mention his preference on the reach of the vouchers. He would prefer the vouchers be valid not only in private schools or for home schooling but in public schools in surrounding suburbs as well.

He then went on to talk about the importance of ensuring that every child is fed a nutritious meal during school hours as that could be their only balanced meal they receive that day due to their potential situations at home. He discussed after school programs and initiatives that even go as far as feeding some children dinner before they return home. I couldn’t help but feel sad that our federal government would want to take that away. Why? Because they personally have never experienced going without nor will their own children ever go without so, they just don’t care? That’s really upsetting.

I enjoyed listening to Deemyi and Zachary talk back and forth as it was a learning experience for me. I gained more understanding on the bill and had a chance to see how passionate they both are about children having access to a great education and the resources needed for healthy living.

A younger gentleman popped his head in the office we were talking in and invited the Councilman into a conference room to speak to a group of elementary students. Zachary and I still had a few things to discuss so he invited us to tag along with him to see the students. The kids were so excited to see him and he spoke to them with such kindness.

Mayor Frank Jackson walked into the conference room to speak to the children too. He took a few moments to speak with Deemyi, Zachary and I and even took photos with us. He expressed his concerns with HR 610, which was awesome for Deemyi to get a statement from the mayor for her assignment as well. He was friendly and so willing to chat with us.

On our way out, Councilman Reed gave me some much needed advice about my possible future in political science. He told me to focus on the issues are important to me and find a way to get involved. He said that people typically get into political science because they see a need for policy changes and want to help make those changes happen. I got to thinking and he was definitely right. With PoliSci, it’s not really a traditional career path where you start at the bottom and work your way up. It’s different than that and almost more difficult. I have a lot of planning and thinking to do but I haven’t even gotten through my prerequisites yet so I have plenty of time to find my purpose.

Councilman Reed formally announced that he is throwing his hat into the Cleveland mayoral race just yesterday! As he’s been a friend of the family since I was a child, I couldn’t be more proud of him and am ecstatic for his new journey. Mayor Frank Jackson is also running for re-election. I wish them both the best of luck! May the best man win! ❤

Thank you, Councilman Reed and Mayor Jackson for your time and your insight. Deemyi and I appreciate it more than you know.

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Zachary mailed me signed copies of our photos!

-D.O. ❤

“Happiness Can Be Found, Even in the Darkest of Times, If One Only Remembers to Turn on the Light.”

This quote from Albus Dumbledore has stuck with me over the years. I use it as a reminder to remain optimistic even in the darkest of times. I’ve always been an optimistic person, however, there are days when I can lose that for just a moment.

The universe has been pretty good to me lately so I can’t really complain but life is never a smooth road. In the words of the shrunken head on the Knight Bus, “It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!” I’ve driven on some pretty rocky roads so I know this to be true.

I like to be prepared for my next dark time. Like the great Hagrid once said, “There’s a storm coming, Harry. And we all best be ready when she does.” With that in mind, I try  not to forget ways to get through my next storm. Whether it’s just a drizzle or a full on monsoon, I have a plan. I’ll remember to turn on the light.

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Can you tell I’m a Harry Potter nerd?  😉

-D.O. ❤

 

Live A Little

I cannot believe that it is already mid-July! Where has the time gone? This year is flying by and it got me thinking that I really need to start living life in a more exciting and fun way.

This August, my husband and I are making it a point to go on a couple of small road trips. I am always so scared to just get up and go because I think about more responsible ways to allocate the funds but I have to stop. I’m 30 years old, I rarely travel and my family and I need to start seeing life beyond the bars of Cleveland, Ohio!We are heading to DC for three days in mid-August with my son. This one was actually my son’s idea. He adores Barack Obama and is so excited to see the White House. We also got invited to tag along with some friends to the Afro Punk Fest in Brooklyn, NY toward the end of August. This will be our first time visiting New York! Crazy, I know! I’m honestly more excited to people watch and steal fashion ideas than I am for the actual fest. ❤

I also have a mini girls trip coming up! Yas! One of my good friends and I will be road tripping to Philly in a few weeks for the Coldplay concert. SO pumped because I love Coldplay and we get to run (more like slowly crawl) the Rocky steps. 😉

I advise you all to come to the same realization as I did. Go on a quick road trip with your loved ones. Be spontaneous! Our lives go flying at the speed of sound (Coldplay pun) and we need to take full advantage of the time we have left here.

Unable to travel? Be a tourist in your own town. Last Friday, I had an awesome girls night in Downtown Cleveland and I hit up a local festival on Sunday with my husband. I had a blast! Summer is the perfect time to track down some local events, festivals and concerts. Before you know it, it will be freezing out and you wont want to do anything else besides Netflix and chill.

Yes, be responsible and worry about the serious things in life but also remember to HAVE FUN!

❤ D.O.

Get Familiar: Avalon Exchange

Why do I rave about this store? Because they have awesome and cheap shit!! Kid you not! 

I love a good deal! My mother has passed down her talent and patience to track down sales. Shopping the clearance section at your favorite store is one obvious way to save a few dollars, however, thrifting is a cheaper alternative. 

In Cleveland, Plato’s Closet was the place to find used, name brand gear. After many unsuccessful trips, I decided not to waste my time anymore. My thrifting days came to a hault. 

Luckily, my friends Megan and Lizzie dragged me to a dollar sale at both the Lakewood and Coventry Avalon Exhange locations a little over a year ago. I’ve been hooked ever since. I didn’t even know they existed before that glorious day. Silly me! If you’re in the Cleveland area, check it out ASAP. (They also have locations in Pittsburgh, PA, St. Louis, MO and Winter Park, FL.)

I made a random stop at the Lakewood location last week and found a few awesome pieces that I wanted to share. 

(Disclaimer: My photographer husband has been super busy lately so, you guys get selfies this time around. 🙂 A stack of DVDs and self-timer are no match for his skills though!)

Forever 21 Baseball CropI plan on getting a lot of use out of this tee. It was only $5.50 so the ROI on this bad baby is amazing. I love it with my hubby’s flannel tied around my waist. It would also look cute with a pair of high waisted leggings or cut off shorts. 

American Eagle Denim BraletteExcuse my resting bitch face, but this $5 top is adorbs! It’s super comfy and would pair well with any cotton bottom; a maxi skirt, leggings or shorts. 

AviatorsAll sunglasses at the front of the store are $10.50 right now. It’s very easy to want to try on a ton of them because they all rock! My bestie tried to buy these off of me for $20. I shut her down and drove her to Avalon to get her own pair. She ended up with two pairs for the same $20 she offered me. You’re welcome, Amanda! 😛 #WeRockAV8As 

Herschel Fanny PackThe unique thing about Avalon is that they post the really cool items they get in on their Insta and you can call, buy the item with a credit card and pick it up later. I literally had just gotten home from there and they posted this work of art on their IG. My husband and I decided it had to be ours! I called and for just $14.50, I was a proud owner of a fanny pack! I’m loving that it’s unisex, my husband has used it numerous times this week. The jockey and dog print is also a plus. 

Gap Cropped Vintage Denim JacketDays after my shopping trip, I was on my lunch break scrolling through the gram and this caught my eye. I immediately wanted to call and buy but I was being cheap that day and decided to skip it. About five minutes later, my friend commented on the photo, mentioned me and said “you need this.” I took that as a sign and called them right away! Totally worth the $14.50! I can wear this over anything and I’m loving how apparent it is that it’s not from this decade. #tbt! 

Keep in mind that you might not find something you love every time you go. They are constantly buying single, unique items to fill the store. You’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days but don’t give up! Thrifting takes patience and perseverance! 

My advice; take numerous trips and stalk their Instagram. Also, they will buy your clothes! if you’ve got some gently used, trendy pieces you no longer wear, you have a chance to make money and make room in your closet for all the newish things you’ll find there! 

Happy thrifting! 

-D.O. ❤