The new apartment.

UGH! I just wrote this entire post, pictures included….. and something happened, I am not sure exactly what happened, but the whole thing was gone. So lets try this again!

I have been asked a few times to post pictures of my new apartment, so here it is. I moved to the new Ink Block apartments in the South End. We live above the new Whole Foods- there is literally an elevator straight to the doors of WF- safe to say I am going broke.

Anyway, this post is going to have way more pictures than writing (I am sure you are all excited about that…)

When you walk into our apartment you see a rolling bar that has alcohol on it (duh) and some of me and Adams little memories and ‘treasures’

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Then you look straight and see our living area (if you call it that in such a small place)… where Sammy hangs! This is really his apartment and we just live in it.

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There is a floor to ceiling window which I love. At night the skyline area is pretty, and it is right near the harbor so whenever there is a fireworks show- we get a home viewing!

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.55.06 PMThen to my favorite area (no, not because I cook.. I don’t know how to cook, I just think its purrtttty) the kitchen!

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If you couldn’t tell, I got into the fall spirit a bit.

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Here is our bedroom- it still needs some work… and we have a decent sized walk in closet to the left, but it is so messy I am too embarrassed to show you.. so for now this what you guys get-

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.57.13 PMWe also have a floor to ceiling window in the bedroom… you can kinda see Sampson’s bed, he likes the view 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.56.11 PMAnother one of my favorite features!!!

blog8And though our apartment is pretty small, our bathroom is a really nice size! And lol at the toilet paper…

blog3blog4So that is pretty much it for now, once I clean up the closet, and fix up the bedroom, I will update you. And bare with me on these updates- I am new to wordpress and really don’t get it just yet!

Like A Girl

         



      

      I have never given my strength a label, I have never given my appreciation for my own gender a title.. but after sticking up for my own beliefs in a recent discussion, I was given the title of an “angry feminist.” I paused, and let it sink in for a second. I hadn’t said anything rude, I hadn’t shouted, I simply stated facts- why was I being called an angry feminist? So I replied, “well, maybe I am a feminist, but I am certainly not angry about it…” To which this person went off on a tangent…“You actually call yourself a feminist??? YOU MUST HATE MEN!!”… Yeah.. that is it, I mean disregard the fact that I was sitting at lunch with the opposite sex during that moment? Interesting that when females call themselves feminists, they immediately get told they MUST HATE men, but when a man assaults a woman or goes on a killing spree targeted at just females, he is simply “mentally unwell” and it has nothing to do with him hating the female gender as a whole. Then the tangent continued, “YOU CALL YOURSELF A FEMINIST? SO you don’t shave your legs?” Yup, for sure.. super hairy, because that is exactly what sticking up for my own gender comes down to. “But I am a man that doesnt treat women that way.” Ok? would you like me to applaud? I wasn’t aware that I needed to praise someone who treats another person with decency. I wasn’t aware that I should give you a cookie because you DON’T rape/assault/ or degrade women? I am sorry that you feel the need to turn the tables around to say “WELL NOT ALL MEN” because the discussion of what millions of women deal with, makes you uncomfortable. Alright, I am being harsh, but if I have to hear one more “I don’t treat women that way” come out of another guys mouth, all the while sporting his favorite “make me a sandwich” t-shirt… I may scream. And trust me, I know this isn’t all men, but why is that even becoming a discussion? No one is saying all men… we are simply saying there is a larger problem at bay… one that needs to be addressed. 
         Somewhere, between all of the cold hard facts, people seem to think I have became  a cold hard feminist. After reading statistics… after seeing the degradation of women, I definitely did fall that much more protective of my own gender. I became that much more confident in my own intelligence, in my own strength, so much so that I will never allow someone to speak down to me because of it, but I am not angry. 
          Think about this, 3,073 people killed in terror attacks in the US, 2,002 US troops killed in Afghanistan, 4,486 US troops killed in Iraq (bless all of them, always in my thoughts… troops are the absolute strongest people I have ever encountered, and I never want their heroism to be downplayed) and, 11,766 American women killed by their husbands or boyfriends…(figures from 2001 to 2012) more than the above categories combined- that is a problem. So no, feminism isn’t about hating men… although it becomes hard not fear them when you read the above statistics, feminism isn’t about not shaving… because that is just well, ridiculous. Feminism is about something much more than that. Its about the fact that I shouldn’t have received pepper spray as a freshman going off to college… its about the fact that I shouldn’t ever hear what I should do to AVOID getting raped, no, instead… we should be teaching people NOT to rape. I shouldn’t have to wonder… “should I walk alone through campus… is my outfit to risky?” And I should never be told, “well if you dress like that you are asking for it..” I am not sorry if what I am wearing affects someone in such a strong way they can’t control themselves. I AM NEVER ASKING FOR IT, NO FEMALE IS EVER ASKING FOR IT. It is simple, I just believe in social, political and economic equality of the sexes… so therefore, I am a feminist. Maybe you have a different definition- but that is mine. 
I love men, some of my best friends are men, I’ve dated wonderful men, but I am still a feminist
I shave my legs, as my choice, I wear high heels to show them off, and guess what… I am still a feminist. 
And if you haven’t watched this yet… do so, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs… because “like a girl” should never be an insult.
      I watched my sister fight for her life, and then I watched as she lost the battle and the life drifted from her eyes… I donated a kidney to my other sister after watching her sit on dialysis three times a week, fighting once again, for her life.. then a week later I started classes again to make sure I stayed on track in school. I have found the light at the end of the tunnel, and have remained as strong as humanly possible despite the factors against me… so if that’s what it means to do something “like a girl” then I am damn proud to be a girl. 

Guest Blogger Holly Wolti- Memories with Ashley.

 

     
     Since Ashley passed away back in the summer of 2012, I have been fortunate enough to still be in contact with some of her close friends. I am able to continuously hear memories her and her friends shared, some of which make me laugh, and some that bring tears to my eyes. It has been a true blessing, and because I have wanted to start having guest bloggers on my own blog- it gave me a great idea. With Ashley’s two year just a week past, I thought having one of her friends guest post would be perfect! This is Holly from The Catz Meow, she has known Ashley since the two of them were young college girls partying the nights away at fraternity houses (and yes, I was snuck into some of those parties at 16- thinking I was the coolest girl in town!) Holly runs her own blog filled with beautifully written pieces, many of which have given me a dose of inspiration. Many of her beautifully articulated sentences will send chills down your spine- I highly recommend you checking her blog out after you read this amazing post she wrote in honor of Ashley. She also has a Facebook group The Catz Meow, and a twitter handle: @hollyamber28- go send her love!

Holly: 

All I could do was feel. I felt thankful that her battle was over, thankful that she was now in a place of serenity. I felt thankful for the memories we had made, for the fact that she could now 
breathe easy…

It was Sophomore year of college, year 2006. Freshman year had come and gone, and I had pretty much stuck with the same crew, I had my best friends, and that was safe… But this year I wanted to do something different, maybe join a club, meet some new people. I found myself partying in the dirty basement of a fraternity house, new faces looking my way, unfamiliar voices asking me my name. There were Greek letters all over tee-shirts, or lack there of, and strange girls “accidentally” bumping into me. I was trying to get a beer, trying make friends, trying to fit in, still trying to figure out who I was. Luckily, I spotted a couple faces I knew. Thank God. 

Skipping over the next few blurry hours of the night, I ended up hanging out with the girls of Kappa Delta Phi, National Affiliated Sorority, Kappa Upsilon Chapter. One of my best friends was already a sister, so I knew these girls would be fun to hang around. The Kappa girls didn’t seem like typical sorority girls to me at all. They seemed kinder, not so judgmental, they seemed like they wanted me to be their friend. Thank God again, I thought.

The next day, I was sitting in my dorm room, my mind drenched in thoughts of homework, who my new roommate would be, fears of getting stuck in the elevator going down 12 floors. These thoughts were quickly interrupted when I got an instant message (back when AIM was the thing to do) from a girl named Ashley. “Hey Holly. This is Ashley Dias. I met you at the fraternity party. Would you wanna go to another party with me tonight?” “Sure,” I said. “Come to my dorm, let’s get ready together.” After a million outfit and hair style changes, Ashley and I were ready to hit the streets of UMass Lowell. Sidenote: we probably thought we looked a lot better than we did, but tight belly shirts and lots of bronzer seemed like the perfect ensemble for us. “Um, Ashley, your heels are really high. Are you gonna be able to walk all the way to the party with those on?” She didn’t even have to say a word, and I somehow knew that Ashley probably didn’t even own a pair of flats, so heels it was. She was tiny, but damn could she strut her stuff in those stilettos. I knew then that this girl was hiding a lot of strength in her fragile little frame.

Ashley and I quickly decided to rush and pledge the KY chapter of the KDP sorority. Through this period, we quickly became close. We shared laughs, tears, excitements, let downs. We would take any opportunity to sneak selfies in, and we would also sneak some butterball shots before sorority meetings even though the pledge process was supposed to be “alcohol free.”  Through pledging, sisterhood, eventually leaving the sorority, growing up a little bit, holding my hair back on my 21st birthday while her car was outside getting towed (Thank you for that again, Ash!), and eventually becoming roommates, I not only found myself a friend, I found myself a sister. We had our ups and downs, our fights, our periods of not talking. We screwed up, made up, and toasted to the good times. I became close to her family, she became close to mine.

We both grew up a little more after college and 7 room mates in one apartment days, but I never forgot some strong lessons she taught me. “Never give up” she would tell me. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…” “I may lose some battles, but in the end, I will win the war.”

I always knew deep down what she really meant by that. Ashley hid it well, but she was battling a huge fight against Cystic Fibrosis. She had good days and bad days, and we talked about them all without one tear rolling down her cheek. It never seemed to phase her, she never acted like she was any different than the rest of us. She was a tiny girl, but she had the fiercest heart. Through so many doctors appointments, and uncomfortable procedures, Ashley never complained. Instead, she would text me and ask me how my day was and how work was going. Really? She had so much more going on in her life, so many more important days to get through. My work day didn’t matter, but that was just the kind of friend Ashley was. Always putting other people’s issues first.
In the summer of 2012, Ashley fought as hard as she could to win her fight against CF. Again, she impressed me as she blogged, and posted on Facebook, and showed the world how strong she was. To me, that’s a true win. Laughing in the face of something that would knock a normal person to the ground, is real authentic heroism. This girl was a forced to be reckoned with, rising no more than 5 feet tall… she was the strongest girl I knew.

“RIP Ashley…” “Rest in Peace Angel…” “Breathe easy now…” I would type into my Facebook status over and over trying to find the right words to say once I heard the news of Ashley’s journey to Heaven. No matter how many times I typed it, somehow hoping she could read it, I never found the right words to say. I never found ways to thank her for giving me the courage to go out and make so many new friends in college. I never really thanked her for wiping the tears off my eyes when my college boyfriend would break up with me, or for building me up when my confidence would kick me down. I never got to thank her for all the lessons she had taught me, the bravery she gave me. I never got to tell her that the backbone I have is owed to her. All I could do was sit on my bed and cry and pray that Heaven was ready for this beautiful little powerhouse to stomp around in her sparkly high heels, demanding all the candy she could eat, while giving dirty looks down on Earth to all the girls that would piss her friends or family off. I knew I had a new guardian angel, and I knew that I was lucky to have her.

…Thank God for Ashley, I thought.

My scars tell a story.

        



          I think everyone around the New England area is craving Summer, its actually all I have wanted since the day we entered into Winter… and even though its so close, the weather is of course being a jerk and playing with our heads. We did however have a beautiful Sunday, again, teasing us.. and right when I felt that sun shine through my window, I was ready to put on my bathing suit… but then I got incredibly insecure and decided against it.
        I wasn’t insecure due to my weight, or lack of abs, it was because of my scars. 
Now I will tell you all, since most of you know anyway… I have two scars on my stomach, and one larger one, lower down near my bikini line- these scars are the outcome of me donating my kidney to my sister in January. The lower, and much larger one, doesn’t bother me at all because you cannot see it while I wear a bathing suit… but the two on my stomach (still unsure why they are there) are pretty obvious. More obvious than I believed. I wore a crop top out the other night… It was slightly covering the scars, but they became visible if I moved a certain way. Some kid had the audacity to come up to me and ask, “what are those from…?” than proceeded to point at one of the scars on my stomach. I was taken back… who thinks its okay to ask someone you don’t know about a scar on their body? I should have been all, “wanna know how I got THESE scars” using the creepy voice of Heath Ledger as the Joker, while simultaneously looking like I am on drugs… i’m sure that would have kept him from asking anyone else random about their scars. 
        Side note, if you are about to ask someone about a scar/or something on their body… close your mouth… put your hands down from pointing, and start walking away (but before you go, buy them a drink as an apology for being an asshole)… 
        Of course, I have been told time and time again that I have no filter, so I said “I donated a kidney to my sister in January..” with a less than thrilled look upon my face. I think I sucked the air right out of that room. Regardless of how I acted un-phased, I did become quite self conscious. 

       So when Sunday came, I refused to put a bathing suit on… and sat outside with shorts. But after much thought, I have realized that these scars show bravery, these scars tell a story about saving a life, these scars are something I should not be ashamed of. So I am dedicating this post to my beautiful scars… 

               

      There you have it! Now looking at them, instead of being ashamed, I smile. Never be insecure about your scars, your scars just prove you are stronger than whatever it is you have faced.

Inside look 4.

In no particular order… just sections that I scroll on when I open my book. 
Click here for the first excerpt I’ve posted.. First Excerpt

Click here for the second excerpt I’ve posted.. Second Excerpt 

Click here for the third excerpt I’ve posted… Third Excerpt
    

 Before you go ahead and read this excerpt… here is an explanation:


This is an in depth documentation of the memories I have growing up as the healthy child in a family centered around illness. I will start with the first memory I have, continuing on with the next, and so on. Explaining in depth, the affect of watching my two older sisters struggle to survive, my mother fighting against cancer, all the while still tending to her sick daughters, and my father walking out the door, unable to handle anymore of life’s struggles, had on me. I document each age, and because the memories are sporadic, the italicized statements give you a better understanding on what’s to come next.This is a story to show my families struggles, the anger and hatred that grew inside of me from it all, and how I was able to find the path of positivity, despite all the factors that seemed to be against me.

(click to enlarge)


Where do you find YOUR inspiration?

I use this blog to talk about inspiration, how inspiration is the key to my own happiness. I talk about things one can do to keep themselves inspired, like the inspiration boards, but I don’t really specify who or what it is, that causes my inspiration. This post may be a little cheesy, so go grab yourself a (few) glasses of wine, and enjoy!

Ok, lets start with the more expected means of my inspiration… 

My Family– 


They motivate me, yes, but they also inspire me. I see how hard each one works to reach their own goals, always making sure to put forth their best effort no matter what endeavor they are jumping into. I see how much support they give to one another, having no expectation of gratitude in return. I watch them express love so openly, without a second thought. It is beautiful to see people who display raw, authentic, and purely genuine intentions. Seeing them display these characteristics daily, inspires me to be these best person I can. 


 Friends– 

I have lost and gained friends throughout the years. I have felt betrayed, I have felt loved… But I think I can finally say, with confidence, I have finally formed a group of friends who I know will stick with me until the end… and if I do say so myself, I pick em good. All jokes aside, my friends are a main source behind my inspiration. They, like my family, love me without expecting something in return. They love me… that’s it, no because, no reason why, they just love me. I see how hard they work at their own lives, fighting to reach each of their goals, and not falling apart when something doesn’t go as planned. They perfectly balance work, friendships, family life, and do it with such ease. Each day, without a doubt, they inspire me to work for what I want… to never quite, and realize that NOTHING is going to come easy, but thats ok


Random people


I know you are probably like, what? But it is true, seeing a person I don’t know, working hard.. whether that person is working at Starbucks, McDonald’s, or as a CEO of a large company… when they can do their job, and maintain a smile on their face no matter how hectic things can get… I can’t think of many things more inspiring then that. 


Writings

I still go onto Ashley’s blog every now and again, and read some of her past posts she wrote while in Cleveland as she waited for her new lungs. Her uncanny ability to say all of those painful words with such ease, is still awe-worthy. Each sentence I read inspires me.
I also follow other blogs of people whom I don’t know, and I find some sort of inspiration in many of them. 

Long car rides by myself

I find myself on many occasions, jumping into my car, blasting some of my favorite songs, and driving with no destination in mind. I love those long, peaceful drives. I have the window ever so slightly cracked open, letting the sun sneak through to find a resting place on my cheek, creating the perfect scenario for  inspiration to be born. After all, when do you think I came up with this blog post?

Originality, Rawness


Finding people who hold these traits. People who are themselves, flaws and all, play a big part in my own inspiration, they push me to appreciate the person I am.

Happiness


Finding someone who, no matter what hardships life has thrown their way, is genuinely happy. People that realize life is going to have many of its… ‘when it rains it pours,’ moments, but still stands tall in that rain until the sun peaks through again.

Getting things accomplished


Whether it be a small, minute accomplishment, or something on a larger scale… each accomplishment grants me the same amount of inspiration.


Doing something to help others


Say’s it all right there. Nothing more inspiring then helping someone out, to then see the smile YOU put on their face.

People who started from the bottom


To quote Drake, “now we here.” But really, people who came from nothing, and preserved through it all, and are now doing exactly what they’ve always dreamed. Reaching heights they thought were unattainable

The notion that, “if he/she could make their dreams a reality… so can I”– 


Think of someone you idolize, they are a normal person like you and I… if they could become what they are, what is stopping you from doing the same? 

Moments of reflection


The time I take to realize how far I have come
So tell me, where do you find your inspiration?

Hearts 4 Hope.




     A few weeks back I was contacted by a lovely woman who saw my families story on Fox News. She is one of the lovely ladies who runs the Hearts 4 Hope foundation, a non profit organization started in 2009 that is aimed to help families, financially, who are battling Cystic Fibrosis. They have done amazing work thus far, and to date, have raised over 400,000 dollars to help aid these families. 
      This foundation hits close to home for my family and I, as we have definitely felt the financial burden that has been brought on from the constant medical attention due to both of my sisters Cystic Fibrosis. So when this wonderful woman contacted me, I was thrilled to be connected with this organization. They even extended an invitation to me for the foundations upcoming gala this Saturday, March 22nd. I couldn’t feel more honored to attend an event supporting this great cause. 
      Everyone should take the time to check out the website, hearts4hopefoundation.org. You can make a donation…And if you are unable to do that, just go browse the site and see how much this foundation has made a difference in so many families lives!