On May 25, 2020, George Perry Floyd, an African-American man, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In his honor, and all black lives who have been taken unjustly by police brutality and/or racism, we stand and protest for equal rights for our black brothers, sisters, and nonbinary individuals.
Social media can get overwhelming at times, but has a lot of good resources on how you can do your part to support the Black Lives Matter movement. I've compiled a list of places to donate, sign petitions, and books and articles to read in case you can't scroll through social media anymore.
Even though I am a POC, I will never understand the challenges black people face. But I am here, educating myself, and willing to listen and use my voice to speak up about the injustices we are seeing today. I hope you do the same.
WHERE TO DONATE
George Floyd Memorial Fund: The official GoFundMe to support the Floyd family.
Minnesota Freedom Fund: Community-based fund set up to pay criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality.
Reclaim the Block: Coalition that advocates for and invests in community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis neighborhoods.
Black Visions Collective: Minnesota-based black, trans, and queer-led organization committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence.
Brooklyn Bail Fund: Community bail fund for Brooklyn’s incarcerated individuals.
May 2020 Buffalo Bail Fund: Fundraiser set up to provide bail for those protesting in Buffalo, New York.
Black Love Resists In the Rust: Buffalo-based collective of organizers and artists who identify as Black, Brown, and People of Color (POC) who believe in and work towards Transformative Social Justice
To find more places to donate, visit Rolling Stone's article here.
WHERE TO SIGN
Change.org : the official Change.org justice for George Floyd petition
Colors of Change : OR text "FLOYD" to 55156
We the People: the official federal government petition
Black Lives Matter : demand acknowledgment and accountability for the devaluation and dehumanization of black life at the hands of the police
To find more petitions, visit USA Today's article here.
WHAT TO READ
THE NEW JIM CROW - Michelle Alexander
WHITE FRAGILITY - Robin DiAngelo
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOM X - as told by Alex Haley
ANGELA DAVIS an autobiography
HOW TO BE AN ANTI-RACIST - Ibram X. Kendi
I urge to you support your local book stores rather than purchasing these books from big corporations. If you're located in Buffalo, Burning Books has these and many more.
Thank you to Buffalo New York Premier Surfaces for sponsoring this post!
I’m moving… again! *sigh*
Is anyone else sick of moving? Whether it be moving from dorm to dorm, from college to home during the breaks, or apartment to apartment every year? ‘Cause same! But unfortunately, it’s that time of the year, and it’s time to go apartment hunting.
I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the dirty. If the apartment looks good in photos, make sure to always tour the apartment because pictures can be deceiving. I’ve compiled a list of things to do while touring an apartment to make sure you’re not getting stuck with a hot mess after you sign on the dotted line.
1. The usual stuff
A coat of paint can’t fix everything. Check for scratches on the floors, dents in the wall, and nicks on the cabinets and doors. You should also be checking for water damage in in and around the bathtub and under the sink in your bathroom and kitchen. And if you don’t know what water damage or water marks look like, just Google it.
When apartment hunting in Buffalo, lot of the upper/lowers or apartment buildings you’ll be moving into were built in the early to mid 1900’s. Look up and see if there’s cracks in the wall where the ceiling meets. It also doesn't hurt to ask if the walls are drywall or plaster. Don’t forget to stand by the windows and check if there’s a draft. If there is, factor in how it’ll affect your heating bill in the winter.
2. Storage is your best friend.
“Is there basement storage?” is one of the first things I ask when touring an apartment. You won’t think you’ll need all this storage at first. But then you’ll move in with your roommates and start unpacking. You then realize everyone brought a dining plate set with pots and pans... and now you have 3 microwaves, 2 crockpots, and 12 can openers. Clearly there’s not enough kitchen cabinet space to store everyone’s utensils, so you’ll have to store it somewhere else.
When living in Buffalo, you experience all four seasons, and we need clothes for all four of those very different seasons. Do you have bin of clothes for each season and switch out your closet and dresser? I know I do. If your parents live far away, or won't let you use their basement as storage anymore, where do you plan on keeping your summer clothes? (Kudos if you know how to wear your wardrobe all year long. I haven’t reached that level of adulting yet.) But I think you get the idea that storage is very important.
If there is basement storage, check out the basement while you’re already there. Look for water damage and see if it smells musty. Also see if there’s a separate, locked place to keep your belongings. You can never be too safe if there’s other people living in the same building/house as you.
4. Water pressure
Turn on those faucets! You won’t look weird, I promise. In the apartment I’m currently living in, I got stuck with the worst water pressure in the world. I can barely wash my dishes or take showers. When we first moved in, our shower also didn't have hot water. It took a month for our landlord to resolve the issue, but taking cold showers in March is not fun. So make sure to check the water pressure and wait to see how long it takes for the water to warm up.
5. Countertop space
Countertop quality and how much countertop space you have fall hand in hand. This applies for the kitchen and bathroom too! Are these countertops Instagram worthy for all the food and bathroom-selfie pics you’ll be taking? Is there enough space to keep your toaster, microwave and coffee maker out at all times? Are they secured to the wall and cabinets? And if you have OCD like me, do the countertops stop where the cabinets end, or is there a weird overhang? I figured out the hard way that one of my countertops was not secured to the cabinets when it came right off.
My last apartment definitely didn’t use Buffalo New York Premiere Surfaces to install their countertops. Premier Surfaces have been fabricating and installing custom-designed countertops and surfaces for more than 30 years and use of high quality material to provide excellent installations and amazing customer service. Never be afraid to ask your landlord/apartment manager the brand of something, or who and how they installed it. Because if you break it, you’re paying for it, even if they did a crappy job of building it.
6. Lights and Outlet location
You don’t realize how important electricity is until you don’t have access to it. This may just be an old Buffalo house thing, but my current bedroom only has one outlet and no built in light. I have at least 3 extra long power strips running the parameter of my bedroom, and floor lamps in almost every room. It’s not a huge inconvenience, but all lamps and power strips I needed to buy did add up to a decent amount of money. So scout out all the rooms in the apartment your touring and make a mental note the outlet will be accessible after you fill that room with furniture.
If you do find issues, but really enjoy the apartment and its location, ask the landlord or apartment company if these issues can be fixed before you move in. And I know I sound like your mom, but if you do move in and spot damage that you didn’t cause, take a picture and document it. It’ll help you get your security deposit back when you decide to move out.
Good luck apartment hunting!
A few days before Christmas, I received a message from my friend Karla. She'd been interning at a boutique in Williamsville and at the end of her internship, was brought on as their Social Media Marketer (yay Karla!). Rove Jewelry, Accessories and Gifts LLC was looking for local influencers to work with to promote their clothing and other fun accessories. She loved all the self-love and positivity I've been promoting on my Instagram and asked if I'd like to team up with them - of course I said yes! It took a little while to schedule a date because of holiday festivities and New Year's Eve, but we made it work.
Fast forward to the day of the shoot -I'm a ball of anxiety. I woke up way too early to do my makeup and packed way too many pairs of shoes to model with. But, I made sure to start the day off the Buffalonian way - getting breakfast from Tim Hortons, chocolate Timbits and Iced Capp included. That's what all the models eat before a shoot, right?
This was the first time I stepped foot in Rove, and it definitely won't be the last. When you walk into the boutique, you're greeted by a beautifully arranged display of purses, clutches, jewelry, and other accessories. The left side of the store is lined with tops and blouses full of fun colors and patterns. To the right, the wall is covered with necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. And scattered all around the store are cute gifts like mugs, candles, paintings... pretty much everything your mom wouldn't let you buy when you went shopping with her.
I had no reason to be anxious that morning because Karla was very accommodating and hospitable throughout the entire process! It was full of laughs, smiles, and sharing tricks of the social media trade. After some Instagram stalking, she decided my style lies somewhere between boho and tomboy and I couldn't agree more. With that knowledge, she took the time to find clothes that were flattering to my figure and matched style. Out of the outfits she put together, Karla let me decide what I would model and what pieces of jewelry I thought would be best to accessorize with. She wanted this experience to be personal and true to who I am. For the most part I was, but I challenged myself to try on styles and colors outside of my comfort zone, because why not?
It paid off because I ended up going home with a fuzzy pullover - I opted for the pink color - and this faux fur taupe vest! I can lit-tra-ly wear this vest with the clothes I already own because it matches with everything. It even acts as an extra layer to protect me against the Buffalo snow. And the pullover is a great alternative to those fuzzy, overpriced, name-brand coats and quarter-zips. I also hate wearing coats, so it's super easy to just put this over what I'm already wearing.
My favorite accessory of the shoot were these elegant, gold hoop earrings. They were slightly hexagon shaped, but contained so much more depth than your basic hoop earrings. You could wear them to work, or dress them up and wear them downtown! And if you're lazy in the accessory department like myself, these earrings are a must.
What was the best part of this photo shoot? How confident I felt after leaving Rove! Karla KILLED the wardrobe she picked out for me. I would have never thought to pair some of the pattern/color choices with certain handbags, but it worked! She also chose pieces that were flattering on short girls like myself. I felt like a million bucks every time I tried on a new outfit and posed for the camera. I honestly had no idea that a top could look that good on me. Might I add, all these smiles are genuine because Karla did a great job of making me feel comfortable at the shop and making me laugh during photos.
I'd 10/10 recommend visiting Karla at Rove! She knows what looks good on different body types and will pair your outfit with the perfect clutch or purse. It's also the perfect boutique to shop at when you need to get your girl friend something for her birthday, or a gift just because you love them. I promise you'll be in good hands the next time you visit Rove Jewelry, Accessories, and Gifts.
I bet a lot of you didn’t know September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I also bet a lot of my readers didn’t know I had a sister that lost her battle to cancer at only 9 years old. So many us of skip over this month to get to October. During Breast Cancer Awareness month, we get to wear pink, sporting shirts that say “Save the ta-ta’s” or “Squeeze a boob to save a life”. But what actions do we take to support the estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years old who are diagnosed with cancer?
Did you know, approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnose with cancer before their 20th birthday? To put this in perspective, the chances of winning the lottery are 1:175,000,000. Every 3 minutes, somewhere in the world a mother or father is being told that their child has been diagnosed with cancer.
Are you empowered to do something about this? I sure as hell am. But, if you’re like me, you don’t have money to freely donate to a cancer research organizations. So what can you do?
1. Donate your time.
There are TONS of non-for-organizations that provide services to children diagnosed with cancer. One that is very dear to my heart is Camp Good Days and Special Times. They offer year-round programs to sick children and their siblings to let them “just be kids” for a while. They also offer support groups for parents, and a summer camp program for the kids that is held at Keuka Lake. You can help by volunteering your time to be a camp to be a counselor at their yearly programs & summer camps. Other volunteer opportunities can be found at any Ronald McDonald House, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Brian Moorman’s PUNT Foundation. There are many more out there, but these are some that I’ve either volunteered for, or helped my family when my sister was sick.
2. Donate blood
It’s as simple as that. Many cancer patients will need blood or a platelet transfusions, and you may be the perfect match for them. If you’re afraid of needles, you can always help organize a blood-drive in your community. But, if you’re feeling really courageous, you can look into donating your bone marrow. It’s much more difficult to match bone marrow, so Be The Match helps connect patients in need of a transplant with their donors.
3. Create something that can be donated
If your crafty, this tip is the one for you! A hospital stay for a patient can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. You can help make their stay feel a little more homy by creating comforting items for them. When my sister was in the hospital for her bone marrow transplant, she received a no-sew fleece blanket that she loved to cuddle up with in her hospital bed. Other items you can make for the children are hats, scarves, pillows, and stuffed animals.
4. Donate your hair
Your hair could be made into a wig for a child who lost theirs during chemotherapy. The rule of thumb when donating your hair is that it needs to be 10-12 inches from the scrunchy to the bottom of the pony tail. Please be careful which organization you are donating it to; some charge families an arm and a leg to purchase one of their wigs. I’ve donated my hair over 5 times and went Bald for Bucks once, and I’ve always donated it to Wigs for Kids.
5. Attend event that are donating their proceeds to a good cause
Just because you’re helping others out doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun, too! Many ticketed events or parties donate a portion of their proceeds to local charities. My favorite event in Buffalo is the World’s Largest Disco. It’s always held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and they donate their proceeds to Camp Good Days.
These are just 5 simple ways you can help put a smile on a sick child’s face. In 3 days, Americans will spend on Starbucks coffee what the federal government spends ALL YEAR on childhood cancer research. Don’t let September be forgotten. Help raise awareness for Childhood Cancer patients and families!
Self-love is a hard topic for me to talk about. I know this because I’ve began this blog approximately 7 times and haven’t been able to get past the first paragraph.
As of recent, this topic has been on my mind a lot. The new year has inspired women all over my Instagram feed to embrace themselves. They’re not afraid to show off their bodies and love their imperfections. I like and comment on their photos, cheering them on from the sidelines. I’m able to support other girls in their self-love journey, but why not mine?
I guess I’m not sure where to start. When I look in the mirror, all I can see are my imperfections. My eyebrows aren’t even, my face is breaking out because of stress, my shoulders are too broad, I’ve gained weight... I could go on. Self-love isn’t limited to just physical appearance either. I rarely think my work is ever good enough, rather, that I’m good enough. I wonder if my friends are truly my friends, or when they’ll change their minds about me, and leave me for better. And from there, it’s just a downward spiral into my depression. Despite my cheery personality and ever sarcastic humor, I’m pretty miserable
“Hello darkness, my old friend.”
What does self-love even mean? To start loving myself, I should know its definition and how to do so, right? I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos, read multiple blogs, and listened to too many podcasts. One thing I know for sure is that there’s not a correct definition for self-love. I think it’s safe to say the concept of self-love is very fluid, and it’s definition is different to every person. So, what does self-love mean to me?
I think self-love is to believe that you are worthy of everything that life has given you. It’s accepting all the shit life has thrown at you, but moving forward and learning from your mistakes and bad times instead of letting these memories consume you. We are all human. It’s not just accepting your physical appearance, but working towards a healthier, happier state while loving yourself though the journey. It’s embracing exactly who you are, and who you will become.
The first step to loving myself is surrounding myself with people that love me unconditionally, who will cheer me on in whatever life choices I make (unless it's buying another cat... please don't let me do that), and will help pick me back up when I fall. When I look in the mirror, I’ll embrace my broad shoulders, tiny Asian nose and eyes, because that’s what makes me, me. I won’t worry about the weight I’ve gained, because I know I’ll shed off the pounds while practicing new habits like eating healthy and exercising. No more lloyd burritos for me 😭.
Although these steps look easy on paper, it’s going to be hard, really hard. And I’ll probably slip up… a lot. Like come on, who doesn’t love a lloyd burrito!? But in all seriousness, this year is about me, my health and wellness, and just growing into the person I want to become. If you’d like to join me in my journey of self-love, be my guest! Reach out to me on FB or slide into my DMs. If we haven't talked in a while, once at a basement party, or not at all, I'm here to support you. ❤️
I am a cancer survivor.
Three months ago, I was telling the world (Facebook) that I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. Three months have passed and I’m in remission. What?
Where do I even begin?…
I remember… waking up to nurses sticking my arms with needles, trying to draw blood and check my levels. Being rolled down the hallway, into an elevator, and then down another hallway to what I would call my bedroom for the next two days. Throwing up every hour on the hour. Not having a voice, so having to whisper into the remote to ask a nurse to help me clean up. That God, awful band-aid on my neck that would fill up with blood every 12 hours.
And that, that was the easy part.
Being radioactive sounded fun; I was hoping I’d turn into the next Captain America or Spiderman, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the doctor told me I couldn’t be around people or pets for 8 days and would have to quarantine myself to my bedroom and bathroom. At least I didn’t turn green. I remember coming home from radiation, and having to tell my dog I couldn’t pet her, with tears running down my face. In those 8 days, I finished Season 12 of Supernatural, Season 9 of Vampire Diaries and Season 1 of Riverdale.
When the 8 days had passed, I was due for another Total Body Scan. The results came back, and doctor said I was in the clear. I didn’t have to come back until next year. And just like that, it was over.
Coping with what I went through is a lot harder than actually going through it.
I guess you could compare it to going to college. You have a plan: graduate college. There are certain classes that need to be taken, a specific amount of volunteer time that needs to be fulfilled, so you do it. And when you finally graduate, then what? I’m at the “what do I do now?” phase.
On top of it all is the guilt. The guilt that I only had to deal with my cancer for 3 months. My sister dealt with it for 3 years, and didn’t make it. My other friends who are survivors went through surgeries, lived in hospitals at months at a time, and went through multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. I didn’t have to, yet I still have the same title as them: “Cancer Survivor”.
“Nevertheless, she persisted”.
Over time, my story will make sense to me and the guilt will fade. I’ll start every morning for the rest of my life taking medicine to make sure my body functions properly, and will wear my scar proudly.
I did it. I made it through.
I’d like to thank Dr. Belles for carefully removing my thyroid and taking care of me for as long as I live, my radiation doctor at Mercy Hospital, and my friends and family who send me a text, letting me know I was in their thoughts, sent me flowers, or came to visit while I was recovering. I love each and every one of you and will continue to remember your kind words and generosity whenever I reflect on this chapter of my life.
Yes, you read that right.
I, Juliana, have cancer.
You can sit down if you need to; I am too.
I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma in early September. In case you don't want to click on the link, PTC is the most common form of Thyroid Cancer, and is caused by exposure to radiation. I'm going into surgery tomorrow to get my thyroid taken out. Hopefully, this will be the one and only medical procedure I'll need to win my battle with cancer.
About a year ago, my primary doctor felt something on my thyroid, and send me to get a sonogram. The very friendly nurse, who thought I was in middle school and kept calling me sweetheart, assured me the nodule was nothing to be worried about. At this year's check-up visit, the nodule grew larger than it should have. Not even two hours after my sonogram appointment, my primary doctor called and notified me he had scheduled a Fine-needle aspiration biopsy for the growth.
A Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is exactly what it sounds like. They stick a bunch of needles in your neck (not at the same time) to grab cells and test them for cancer. The nurses I had during this procedure were also very nice and cracked jokes with me the whole time. And the doctor, mmmmm, he was some good eye candy. The worst part of the procedure was getting stuck with the first needle that had the numbing serum. When the nurse began to inject it, I lost my breath and thought my heart was going to stop. It didn't, but I was short of breath the entire time. The needles were the longest needles I've ever seen. And they had a trigger mechanism which sounded like someone was shooting a bebe gun. That was pretty nerve racking. After 8 pricks, they were done. The nurse said they ran out of small bandaids, so he put a huge bandage on my neck. Too bad vampires weren't popular still, or it would've been totally trendy.
About 5 days later, I received a call from my primary doctor while I was at work. I thought it was going to be a quick "We found nothing, have a great day", but it wasn't. He told me what I have, and what I had to do to get it fixed.
To this day, I still don't remember the name of and have and will constantly ask my boyfriend what it's called. I'm not as nervous for the surgery as I thought I was going to be. But then again, ask me how nervous I am tomorrow when I'm in a hospital gown laying on the operating table. Nonetheless, I hope everything goes well tomorrow. I won't know if I'll have stay overnight or not. It all depends on how I come out of the surgery.
Thank you to my amazing friends and family for standing by my side through these past two months. You guys are the best.
I have a horrible immune system. I'm sure I've missed 1/3 of my classes (if not more) this semester from the common cold or the flu. The drastic weather changes and lack of washed hands in class could get anyone sick! It just happens to be me, every... single... time. I've become a pro at writing papers and studying for tests while combatting a runny nose and fever. If you're going through the same thing I am, prepare yourself for those long hours at the library with these few tips!
1. Get some sleep!
But sleep is for the weak, right? Wrong! Studies have compared two groups of people, one group sleep deprived and the other drunk, putting a puzzle together. It turns out we act the same as we would drunk without sleep! And on top of that, the group that was drunk finished the puzzle first because the other group fell asleep. So to ensure you don't ruin your notes with drool, or fall asleep during an exam, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep.
2. Take a study break, but not for too long
Did you know the best way to study is to focus for between 40 and 90 minutes? Afterwards, it's good to take a 10 minute break where you do some kind of exercise. You're already exhausted from being sick, so don't exhaust yourself more by studying too hard. After you've done gone through a round of flash cards, get up and stretch, walk over and talk to a friend, but not for too long. 25 minutes or more will get you out of "your flow".
3. Tea is your new best friend
No, I'm not talking about iced tea. Hot tea is where it's at! Especially with a dash of honey. Loose leaf tea contains natural antioxidants that will help reduce swelling that causes pain and fevers. The warmth of the tea will help sooth your throat as well. And don't forget tea has caffeine in it! Everyone needs caffeine during finals week. I would recommend green tea, ginger tea, or peppermint tea. Just don't drink camomile or it'll put you to sleep!
4. Make yourself a library care-package
Your time in the library is very precious. You don't want to spend the whole time getting up, going to the bathroom to find something to blow your nose on. So do yourself, and everyone else in the library, a favor and bring a box of tissues with you. Also a plastic bag to put your used tissues in. Other items in your library care package may include, but are not limited to: hand sanitizer, cough drops, OTC medicine, a blanket, eye drops, saltine crackers, tea bags, etc.
5. Make a "To-Do" List
I know, it sounds silly, but it really does help! I make my To-Do Lists weekly to give myself a time frame to complete it in. When making your list, write down your assignments along with the date it's due. This way you can decide which is more important to get done first before you call it a night. It also helps to bullet under each assignment the tasks needed to finish it. For example:
COM 414 Final Project (12.02)
-Finish Annotated Bib.
-Have friend read over for spelling/grammar errors
Crossing things off your "To-Do List" will also relieve stress... and man, is it satisfying.
So grab your books, a box of tissues, and a cup of tea. You can do this!