Active artist author blog Blogger Chicago Chitown clever clever girl Creative explorer Female Friend friend funny Funny girl Health Healthy humor Illinois Influence influencer Inspirational Inspire Inspirer Inspiring Journal Libra Lifestyle Lover Megazine Mindfulness Monday observer Old Soul personal Personality Present self-discovery story storyteller TBT Throwback Throwback Thursday Thursday Traveler Under 30 wanderer website writer writing Yoga yogi

Six values Chicago gave me

2018 was a great year. I lived in Chicago for the first half of it, completing a little over a one-year contract for work. Living in a new city, I felt as though I was constantly exploring and learning new things. While the first half of my stay in Chicago, in 2017, was the most I had ever used FaceTime, also full of friends and family visiting, I became fearful that wouldn’t be the case in the winter. Fortunately, it wasn’t.

The following is my best attempt at summarizing everything into six separate chunks.

1. Explore

At the beginning of the year, I saw Buddy Guy himself perform at Buddy Guy’s Legends. I had never heard of him before, but quickly learned he is a legendary Blues guitarist and singer. He has worked with some of the great’s, including Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and John Mayer. I was witnessing a true musical craftsman that night.

Out of all of the tourist attractions, the aquarium is by far, my favorite. I have a great love and appreciation for ocean life, but if for some reason you don’t, well then, I’m not talking to you.

Arguably, the best view of the city is at London House. It overlooks the Chicago River and almost makes you feel equal to other tall buildings surrounding you. I went multiple times, wanting to share the view with other visitors. Cindy’s Rooftop and the Signature Room are close seconds. In my opinion, those views are of the city, as if you are a far away observer, while the view from London House reminds you that you are smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago.

2. Mind

Winter is tough. At a young age of growing up in Michigan, my mental health wasn’t affected by the effects of winter. Well, it may have been. I just have no recollection of it. Perhaps, I blocked it from my memory.

Finding ways to escape and calm your mind I believe to be important for everyone, especially in the winter. Which is how and why I read a lot in my spare time and rediscovered my love for yoga. This was the first time in my life I became on a first-name basis with a yoga instructor. It’s difficult to put into words how valuable that was for me, without even realizing it, until it was over.

3. Money

I paid off a significant amount of student loans and credit card debt. Those major things alone would have been enough, but I also treated myself to purchasing Beats headphones, something I had desired for months. It is one of the few, tangible items that genuinely add value to my life. Most importantly, I finally got a passport. This year, I’m going to put at least one stamp on it.

4. Work

I finished a complete draft of my book; a goal I had for nearly a decade. Then I queried countless agents, pitching the idea to them as best as I could. Most declined, some I never heard back from, few wanted to read it, and only one gave me constructive criticism. While I have yet to be a published author, I have one goal to be proud of. I wrote a book. Whether everyone in the world read it or not, is irrelevant.

I went through an interview process for a TV show. I never heard back. Not if they went with another girl, the show didn’t get picked up, production was delayed, nothing. If I’ve learned anything from trying to be a part of the art and entertainment industry it’s that nothing is ever certain and to just let everything roll off your back. I’m just happy to be given opportunities.

I killed my improv Level D performance at Second City. Having a lot of support in the audience for that show helped. Having awesome classmates on that stage with me helped even more. Afterward, I saw two Second City shows, a luxury I wish I would’ve taken more advantage of as a student.

5. Play

I was a part of some legendary events, like celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago and being on a float of the Pride Parade. I couldn’t help but feel like I was a part of history experiencing those two things.

Boystown quickly became one of my favorite neighborhoods to go out in. It’s not hard to fall in love with cheap drinks, good music, and people who dance.

I also crashed the bachelor party of my prom date in 2005. At the strip club, I couldn’t help but think, if only we knew then what we would experience together now.

The night before I moved away from Chicago, I threw a dope house party. Something I had always wanted to do was even better because my apartment technically wasn’t mine. Yet it was full of friends I always had, ones I made, and even girls I worked with who happened to be in town. And then we had the simple luxury of walking down the street to bars we frequented. The location was stellar.

6. Family

I experienced the architecture tour with my parents and also went to Wrigley Field with my dad, a place that had been on his bucket list his entire life.

While it’s hard to narrow down all the valuable things Chicago gave me, I realized that career opportunity had given me so many more opportunities. Besides tangible items and things of monetary value, I see things differently. I have grown into a different woman. One that still has work to do, but is adjusting accordingly.

It’s nice to look back, but it’s essential to look forward.

Active artist author blog Blogger clever clever girl Creative explorer Female Friend friend funny Funny girl humor Influence influencer Inspirational Inspire Inspirer Inspiring Journal Libra Lifestyle Lover Megazine Monday New York New York City NYC observer Old Soul personal Personality Present self-discovery story storyteller TBT Throwback Throwback Thursday Thursday Traveler Under 30 wanderer website writer writing

New York City

This time, last year I was in New York City. It was the first trip I took for myself in I don’t know how long. Maybe ever. Although I had been to the city, at least three times before, it was always brief. There’s so much to see and do there, it’s impossible to get it done in a short amount of time. The following is what I was able to accomplish in a long weekend.

Food I ate in New York City

As someone who is a huge fan of desserts, it has been a goal of mine to indulge in a beignet for years. I’ve always heard how delicious they were, so much so that my friends named one of their dogs after them. When my friend discovered this beautiful, little French restaurant called, Augustine, I knew my dream would come true. This was the perfect place to enjoy my first beignet as it was more delicious than I could’ve ever hoped for.

Later that weekend, I had an amazing Easter Sunday dinner with three very dear friends. We met at a nice restaurant, Dell’anima and laughed endlessly throughout our meal. Our waiter got a kick out of our desire to share a four-course meal, as we ordered one entree from each section of the menu. I can’t remember if we ordered one or two bottles of wine, but I know our mouths were wine stained by the time we got our bill.

Things I Did in New York City

I visited the Oculus building for the first time. Before going inside, my friend and I paid our respects at the 9/11 memorial. Something else I had never seen before and was overwhelmed by the number of names inscribed on the stones. While the Oculus building is mostly shops and restaurants, the design of the building is magnificent.

The Rockefeller Center is another infamous spot. Ice skating can be a bit expensive, so I had fun simply exploring the building and enjoying the view.

Also, I saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time. Although, I almost didn’t. Someone mentioned something about a boat and as I waited for one in a large building, I got that funny, familiar feeling that I was lost and doing something wrong. Thinking I was going to the Statue of Liberty, I almost ended up on the Staten Island ferry. Fortunately, I had the courage to ask the custodial staff of the building to make sure. They were very helpful while looking at me in amusement. After walking in the rain in the right direction, I boarded an overpriced water taxi, but hey, I saw her.

I treated myself to a Broadway production and saw The Book of Mormon. It was hard to choose which show to see, but I was more than happy with my decision. The show was original, hilarious, well-written, and full of a talented cast. There were so many shows to choose from, but I believe picking that one was the best decision I could’ve made. If you love musicals or the writers of South Park, this is the show to see.

I also saw the Grand Central Terminal and the Roosevelt Hotel. Both of which are exquisitely designed buildings. If you’re a big movie fan like I am, the Grand Central Terminal is a set location for multiple films. Some specific examples that come to mind are Friends with Benefits and the recent film, Second Act. 

Friends & Family

My parents met in New York and lived in a few apartments there together. Although I didn’t get to go inside to their specific apartment, I did see the building, the lobby, and the hallway leading up to their front door. I Facetimed my mom so she could see the building and walk me through a part of her past.

I got to see my Godfather, for the first time in almost four years. He met me at a bar in Times Square after a long day at work. Those few hours we got to spend chatting and catching up went by too quickly but was meaningful and memorable.

That entire weekend, I had the best amount of quality time with such a great friend of mine. Besides indulging in restaurants and dancing at 1Oak, we explored Brooklyn together, for the second time in 3 years. We chilled on the Williamsburg bridge, a reminiscent memory I was fond of with her, the first time I went. It’s interesting that the best view of New York City is outside of it.

New York City Locals

I walked a few blocks with a homeless man. I remember standing on a corner, debating going out of my way to avoid him. But then I was reminded how lately I felt I shouldn’t judge books by their covers, so I stayed put.

He looked at me, alone, and asked, “Are you sure you want to go to this way? It’s kind of dangerous.” Which was probably the last thing I needed to hear. The light changed to “Walk,” and the look on my face must’ve made him regret that statement because he recovered with, “Come on, it’ll be fine. I’ll walk with ya.”

I must admit, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to hear him say this either. He walked ahead of me at first for a while, talking over his shoulder about the neighborhood, what streets were ok and which ones weren’t. When he asked where I was going, I was hesitant to tell him which hotel I was staying at and acted as if I couldn’t quite remember, speaking vaguely of the street corner instead.

Then he began telling me some of his life story and how he ended up to be where he was. I wish I remembered more of the content of our conversation, his name, or what street corner he said was his post. What I do remember is him stopping in front of my hotel to simply say, “Thank you for not judging me and being afraid. It was nice talking to you.” As if he knew that was my inner conflict the entire time.

I realize he may be the exception, not the rule to such encounters, but it is one I’ll never forget.

Gotta love New York City.

Active artist author Bike Biker blog Blogger celebration clever Creative Cyclist Female fit body fitness coach Fitness Enthusiast Friend friend funny Health Healthy humor Influence influencer Inspirational Inspire Inspirer Inspiring Mindfulness personal Personality Present Runner story storyteller Under 30 Vegetarian WCW website Wednesday Women Crush Wednesday writer writing Yoga yogi

Women Crush Wednesday: Fit Body Bre

Bre enters the restaurant we decided to meet at with a wide smile on her face and her thick, blonde hair flowing over her shoulders. Upon seeing me she laughs, commenting on the cold Florida weather. It is only 60 degrees outside, but we both are wearing coats we rarely use. She orders the almond butter toast with bananas, and a latte with almond milk and a pump of caramel before we find an available table. She shares her story on what inspired her to become a fitness and wellness coach, as Fit Body Bre.

High School Bre

In high school, Bre was one of the first friends I made. I played sports to socialize, whereas Bre played them to compete. She played volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse. She could’ve run track, but had no interest. Instead, we were on the golf team, goofing off, laughing at our swings, and gushing over our attractive coach. Senior year, she scored both touchdowns for powderpuff football, thus being the only reason we won. So often, I watched Bre sprint from opponents, with her perfect, blonde ponytail swaying rapidly behind her. And each time it never ceased to amaze me. She was someone I was proud to be friends with. Being close to her made me feel cool. Like, hey I might not be the best one on the team, but my friend is. Her Barbie-like appearance contrasted her scrappiness and still does to this day.

Recently, Bre changed her last name, but her maiden name is Fila. I’m a believer in the power of words. (It’s no wonder I’m a Writer). So, it is no coincidence that she has the last name of one of the major athletic companies in the world. She lives up to that brand. She always has.

Looking back on high school, Bre believes she could have gotten a college scholarship to play lacrosse. Except for senior year, the coach we always had left, and the resources to make that happen disappeared with her.

College Bre

Not letting that get her down, Bre continued to play lacrosse on an intramural league. Senior year she heard about tryouts for a lingerie football team. Once she made the cut, it gave her validation and inspiration to move forward athletically. “So many people doubted that I would actually make the team,” she explained. I was shocked to hear her say this until she quickly pointed out that her friends in college, didn’t know her growing up. They didn’t see her for the unstoppable star athlete she truly was. For, Bre didn’t just play sports. She dominated. At that time, “I had to prove myself that I was an athlete,” she said. “People’s doubt is what motivates me.”

It was then that she traded in sports for CrossFit and weight training. With experience as an athlete came the knowledge of scientific factors to enhance fitness goals. Now she helps clients understand HIIT, plyometrics, how to count your macros, the importance of planning and prepping, and so much more.

Auto Show Bre

The thought of becoming a fitness and wellness coach and ultimately, Fit Body Bre, first occurred to her at the beginning of her auto show career. Bre had always been reluctant to open up and was only the center of attention when it came to sports. Now, she was onstage narrating for the Dodge Viper, all over the U.S, alongside other beautiful women. It took her by surprise when these women asked for tips on how to stay fit on the road. These were women she admired, yet they were seeking her guidance while showering her with compliments.

“I was a good balance between healthy living and living it up sometimes.” As someone who also did auto shows, (thanks to Bre’s referral), I also have no idea how she did this. After standing in heels all day, I was exhausted. The only fathomable cure for me was consuming alcohol, indulging in the best local food, and laughing with coworkers. All of which, Bre also did, yet she somehow managed to develop a healthy routine that worked exceptionally well. She was damn good at it too. I can still vividly remember her travel size NutriBullet. That thing went with her everywhere.

I find this part of her story to be most beautiful. In an industry where it would’ve been so easy to compete with one another, we chose to build each other up. Those women helped Bre see herself for the woman that she is. One that is strong, smart, and beautiful.

Bikini Prep Bre

Last year, Bre took on the challenge of her first fitness competition, the Official Florida NPC Bikini Competition. She placed first in her weight group, and is now nationally qualified, allowing her to compete in an even bigger show and potentially become Pro. She is undecided whether or not she wants to return to that stage. Now, her focus lies with her clients and their needs. Still, when Bre does something, she really does it, and she does it well.

This reminds me of a recent time when I joined her at a CycleBar class. If you’re unfamiliar, there are numbered bikes in the room, which are hooked up to a screen at the front, to show the bike rankings. Halfway through the class of about 25 people, my bike number showed up in 11th place. Bre was in 1st. Determined to push myself like Bre always does, I pedaled my hardest until the screen appeared again at the end of the class. I finished in 6th. Bre was still in 1st.

Fit Body Bre

Now, Bre has created multiple fitness challenges for consumers to participate in. A mutual friend of ours from high school, who lives in a different state took on a challenge. She was successful in losing weight and gaining muscle tone. She lost a total of 19 pounds but more importantly, she created a new lifestyle that reminds her to love herself every day.

In the future, the followers of Fit Body Bre can expect more fitness challenges. Young, business professionals working a full-time job, bride-to-be’s, wives, moms, essentially anyone with a busy schedule, can benefit from her coaching.“I want to show them and educate them how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle.” This means balancing workouts, nutrition, indulging in your favorite foods, and going to happy hour, all while striving to reach your fitness goals.

If you’re in the Tampa area, you’re in even better luck. In the future, she plans to bring the gym to you. She can come to your house, with gym supplies and do a one-on-one training session for 30 minutes to an hour. Friends are also welcome. More than that, she can grocery shop, meal prep, and deliver food for you every Sunday.

Bre is just like you. She often questions herself, sometimes struggles to feel support, but works hard to balance personal life and career goals. There have been periods of her life when she wasn’t as fit as she is now, as well as more fit than she is now. As someone who has known her for nearly fifteen years, trust me when I say, she has always been Fit Body Bre. She just never owned that identity until now.

You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram or join her email list. Be sure to check out her website at

Active artist author Bike Biker blog Blogger Chicago Chitown clever clever girl Creative Cyclist Divvy Equinox explorer Female Fitness Enthusiast Florida friend funny Funny girl Health Healthy humor Illinois Influence influencer Inspirational Inspire Inspirer Inspiring Journal Libra Lifestyle Lover observer Old Soul personal Personality Present Runner self-discovery story storyteller TBT Throwback Throwback Thursday Thursday Traveler Under 30 Vegetarian wanderer website writer writing Yoga yogi

Goodbye Chicago, the city

I procrastinated writing and editing this. Don’t ask me why. My best guess is I was telling myself, “it wasn’t ready,” and I would get to it eventually. I needed personal time and wanted to enjoy my time off. Realistically, I think I didn’t want to come to terms with the fact that my time in Chicago was over. I’ve only been gone for a few months now, but it often feels like a lifetime ago. Sometimes I can’t believe I was just there and soon, I know, I will be shocked at how long it’s actually been. I didn’t anticipate leaving Chicago and being back in the Sunshine State to be bittersweet.

After living in Chicago for a little over a year, I have to say I take pride in the fact that I have a clear visual and general knowledge of many neighborhoods within the city. I can wholeheartedly say, I know that town and I will miss it.

Cindy’s Rooftop

Besides living in Chicago, living in the neighborhood, Logan Square, feels like a century ago. I moved in, in April 2017 and out of it by November. It’s barely been a full year since I left that part of Chicago and sometimes that place feels like a distant memory. What I can recall is this.

Living there felt tough sometimes, because it’s on the west side, a good distance from everyone and everything. For someone new to a city, and a big city at that, I’m rather proud of myself with how much I stepped out of my comfort zone to adapt to my new environment. The first time I rode the bus felt confusing and terrifying. The first time I rode the train, I went in the wrong direction. Also, confusing and terrifying. Toward the end of my stay, I rarely got lost and only felt confused or terrified over different aspects of life. I grew to love Logan Square, based on its culture and colors. Without a doubt that neighborhood has character.

I made friends with a yellow Labrador named, Olive, who lived down the street from me. Her owners never knew about our relationship, so our visits were brief and secretive. This sounds creepier than I want it to, but it’s the truth. I actually befriended tons of pets, none of which were mine. Having a liquor store across the street was dangerous, but amazingly sold some of the best avocados. I loved having easy access to the library across the street as well. For a while, there was a local produce grocery store that I occasionally shopped at when necessary, due to spending over $50 on essentially hummus, carrots, yogurt, and strawberries.  I guess you could say I became a well-read, well-nutritioned, drunk. If that gets me closer to channeling Ernest Hemingway, I’ll take it.

There is also a Hispanic culture there, mostly Puerto Rican, which I found comfort in, missing the vibes of Orlando and Miami. Overhearing the Spanish language felt like home. I enjoyed running and working out at two local parks, and made the best of my circumstances, riding a bike to and from work every day on the 606, also known as The Bloomingdale Trail. Riding home with the sun setting will go down in history as one of my favorite views. I wish I had a photo, but every time I tried, it never did it any justice.

My apartment was pretty up to date with nice counter tops, an Apple TV, a fancy AC unit, a good washer and dryer, and hardwood floors. My favorite part was I lived alone and slept anywhere I wanted. The neighbors were pretty cool and not very loud. The more I write this the more I genuinely miss it, whereas before, I couldn’t wait to get into a new place.

All different views of Humboldt Park

Thus, moving into the neighborhood, Old Town was a nice change, especially being above a good family owned restaurant, Nookies. I became on a first name basis with one of the employees there, Speardon. Personally, the biggest perk was being a quick walk to Second City. Alright, being a quick walk to Second City and the bars. I also splurged on a gym membership to Equinox, because it was across the street, and ultimately left me with no excuse to not go. I got my money’s worth going 3-4 times a week, sitting in the sauna and the steam room after every workout. I could probably count on my fingers and toes the amount of times I showered at my apartment, rather than the gym. Which was preferable, because the water temperature at that apartment was less than ideal. It’s funny how when I lived in Logan Square I admired older Chicago apartments, because they felt, “authentic.” Yet, when I found myself in one with loud floorboards, a creaky dryer, and a horrible Wi-Fi connection, I was no longer impressed.

The grass is always greener, friends. Remember that. There’s good and bad with everything. I think the character of a neighborhood can make up for its location and vice versa. Still, I can genuinely say I was happy with both apartments, for multiple, different reasons. I was beyond grateful to be in both.

Rather than riding a bike, I was able to walk to and from work from my new apartment. A twenty minute, mile walk, that was well worth it every time, due to being indoors for at least seven hours a day, every day. This became a daily thing for me starting in March. I once made the mistake of walking to work in January or February when it was eight degrees outside. I was fooled by the fact that the sun was shining. I ran to work, out of actual pain and pure fear that my legs were going to get frostbite. I wore cropped leggings, a rookie mistake. I learned a hard lesson that day. After that, if the temperature was below freezing, I took the bus. That walk and those twenty minutes of personal time and solidarity, is something else I already miss. I never realized how important it was for my mental health to be outside, year-round, until I lived in Chicago. I took it for granted in Florida.

As soon as it began to warm up, it was amazing to be reminded how many people actually lived in the city.  May was the most I had seen humans in months. Before there would be nobody outside except for the homeless and myself. Suddenly, it was Memorial Day weekend and I found myself on crowded sidewalks. Want to now how many times I was in the way? All of them. I was in the way every time.

As I’m reflecting on all this, I’m now wondering if because I knew Chicago would one day come to an end, I knew to appreciate every second of it. Usually, you don’t even know you’re living some of the best times of your life, until they’re over. This time I knew. It’s odd feeling nostalgic for a place, people, and a time while still living in it. When I think back on my time in Chicago, it will always come back to the people. The friends that visited, the friends I already had, and the friends I made. I truly can’t say enough about the people. Everything else was just a bonus.

What’s your favorite thing about Chicago? Or what was your favorite thing about reading this? Let me know if I left anything out!

Active artist author blog Blogger clever clever girl Creative Female Friend friend funny Funny girl Health Healthy humor Influence influencer Inspirational Inspire Inspirer Inspiring Journal Libra Lifestyle Lover mental observer Old Soul personal Personality Present self-discovery story storyteller Thoughts Tuesday Tuesday Thoughts Under 30 website writer writing Yoga yogi

The Importance of Being Present

Earlier last year and even into the year prior, I came to the conclusion that I was rarely present. I lived in a different city and felt I wasn’t even taking full advantage of it. When I was asked questions like, “How do you like Chicago?” or “What are your favorite things about Chicago?” I felt like my answers sounded like I was listing off a resume for an interview. I began to ask myself, “Is this my life or what? Who am I? What am I doing?”

There would be days I had off work, particularly in the winter, where I would take a personal day. I’d set everything aside for “me time,” but felt as though I hardly enjoyed it, because I was thinking of other tasks I should’ve been or needed to be doing. For someone who claimed to be exhausted and needed rest, I was a walking contradiction as I worked myself up to the point of inner anxiety. It was as though I forgot how to relax. The entire time I was “relaxing,” I was in my head about something. Something stupid, I might add.

I felt as though there was never enough time. As if I didn’t even know what I was doing or where the time went. I always hoped to be utilizing it properly, but found it rather difficult. I was constantly thinking about what was to come, or what happened in the past that shouldn’t again. Yet by doing so, I wasn’t serving myself or anyone else properly. I was coming to the realization that moments spent in your head, filled with worry and distractions, especially while with your loved ones, are times you don’t get back. They are time wasted.


Falling asleep at night was the only way I found peace. By losing consciousness I was no longer thinking negatively. Whether I was worrying about my career moves, guilting myself for being alone and not hanging out with friends, obsessing over a man who didn’t care, or scolding myself for not being as fit as I imagined for my body. Only to wake up and start the vicious cycle all over again. I began to see how much I exhausted myself and understand, that I truly was my own worst enemy. I knew I was trying, but I also knew I could do better, a lot better.

Thus, I dedicated my time at work to be the most productive, and my time at home to relax. But as my writing process and submitting to agents for my book came to an end, I suddenly felt like I didn’t know what I was supposed to say or do anymore. I felt stuck. Then I understood I should surrender to that. I don’t need to be doing something all the damn time. Waiting is something.


The unknown after Chicago loomed over me. How my job wouldn’t be the same, as well as my environment. Then what would I do?  What was next? I would have months ahead of me to figure this out, but the obsession continued. Until I finally realized, I don’t even know why I care. Why am I worried? I continuously remind myself that I never know where life is going to take me, but I trust and know something will happen, as it always does. After all, I was living in Miami, without Chicago on my radar when the opportunity presented itself. That’s why being present is so important. For life is always changing, mine especially so. It’s impossible to focus on the future, because I genuinely don’t know what it may bring.

Now I appreciate how things take time and those things are based on the choices I make. So, I’m happy I’m trying to make good ones.

Right now for me, I need time to truly focus on myself. Not think I am, or tell people I am, but truly enjoy my time alone, and not in such a way that I’m searching or waiting for something. I’m no longer in a rush to find answers and know everything. I know I have a lot ahead of me and that I’m doing my best.  That’s all I can do. I need to enjoy this time of working on my own. Working on my self, my relationships, and my craft. I have everything I need.

Life is good. I am blessed. I am at peace. I am present. I am here. This is my time. This life is mine and mine alone. Being present is a good feeling.


Let me know if this resonated with you at all in the comments below! Feel free to share, if so!

Active artist author Bike Biker Birthday blog Blogger clever clever girl Creative Cyclist Feature Feature Friday Female Friday Friend friend funny Funny girl Health Healthy humor Influence influencer Inspirational Inspire Inspirer Inspiring Journal Libra Lifestyle Lover observer personal Personality Present Runner story storyteller website writer writing

My mother and her accomplishments

As a little girl, my mother would hide behind the living room curtains, before flinging herself through them, starting a show for an imaginary audience. She could twirl at the top of her tippy toes, an untrained ballerina. After an episode of Dancing with the Stars, my mother reenacted this scene, as she told me the story. I imagined she looked the same then as she did now, childlike and free.    

My mother has lived in four different states, all different regions of the country. At the young age of 21, she left her home in East Detroit and set out for New York City. While there she met my dad, a born New Yorker. He recently told me a story how when he first met her, he took her to buy gloves as she didn’t own any herself. I’m sure my mother has an explanation about why a girl who lived in Michigan all her life, didn’t have gloves in New York, but either way, it makes me laugh.

She was an extra on a few television shows, one in particular was Cheers. When Kirstie Alley was on Dancing with the Stars, the episode my mother was in, was aired in her montage of work. I’ve been an extra multiple times and the most you have seen me in anything, is the side of my hair. Yet my mother is sitting at a bar table, in a red skirt suit, clear as day, reaction shot and everything.

She married my dad in New York, living there for a total of five years, before the two of them were boarding a one-way flight to Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before she was pregnant with me. With gorgeous weather on the West Coast, they took me everywhere. I was even given a shoutout, when my mom competed on Wheel of Fortune. Yes, besides being on TV shows, my mom was also a contestant on numerous game shows. I learned this in middle school before I watched the VHS tape recording, realizing a lot of what we owned, were prizes she won. When she won the car at the end, she jumped up and down, her voluminous, long hair leftover from the 80s bouncing with her. After nearly four years of living in L.A, with my sister on the way, they decided to move back to East Detroit, raising their children near family.

In Detroit, my mother went back to school, earning a college degree in Elementary Education from Wayne State University. She simultaneously sold real estate and studied acting and improv. At the age of 9, I remember sitting in the corner of the basement, watching my mom interact with her cool classmates. That moment is when Party Quirks became my favorite improv game. My high school Drama class can vouch for that. 

After 11 years in Michigan, we were packing up our home into a large truck for the sunshine state, and we’ve been in Orlando ever since. She was a great teacher in Detroit and Orlando. More than that, she was a caretaker. Numerous times, she collected school supplies, clothes, and gifts for some of her less fortunate students.

And she’s done all this while staying fit and active. One of my first memories is sitting next to my sister in a cart, connected to my mom’s bike. We felt like we were flying as she pulled us around, our helmets continuously tapping on our tiny heads. We also found ways to entertain ourselves in the Wimbledon arena on 9 mile, while my mom played tennis.  

Not to toot my own horn but, she does have three beautiful daughters. All of whom are smart, funny, and single. We have her to thank for our long legs.

She is the creator of the word, “doy hoy,” abbreviation, “doy,” and is the only reason the word, “loo loo,” is still used. I hope I haven’t offended anyone by using those terms. She’s had the courage to leave everything she’s ever known, more than once. Besides living in different states, my mom has visited many places, most recent was the Grand Canyon. Most importantly, she has remembered the importance of making time to have fun.

With all the accomplishments my mom already has, there are many more ahead of her. She has yet to be the mother of the bride or become a grandma. Two roles, I know she is excited to fill. She plans on getting a passport soon, with a few countries as destinations in mind. The possibilities for my mother continue to be endless.

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

Comment below to wish my mom a Happy Birthday too!