Sunday, March 30, 2014

Niagara Falls Weekend Getaway

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Back in the beginning of December we went on a little family getaway. To Niagara Falls. It was a sort of last minute trip. Cousins of my hubby moved about two hours from us and four hours from the Falls. They wanted to make the trip up there and invited us. I wasn't too sure that it would happen so I didn't even bother packing till the last minute. Everyone with children can say that that was a big mistake because you tend to forget things. 

In my experience, a trip is not a trip unless we forget a few things. This time we, hubby would argue that it was my fault, forgot the baby's bottle and soap. It was our first time traveling with our cloth diapers and the place we were staying at had washer and drier so I had plan to take my CD detergent but thanks to my last minute packing that too was forgotten. I say it could have been worse. 

Friday we drove to our cousins. It took approximately two hours. It was late in the evening and when we got there we had a late dinner, a little bit of chatting then we hit the covers because we had an early start the next day. 

Plan was to leave the house at 6am. That did not happen. We left 1.5 hours later. The drive wasn't bad at all and it took exactly 4 hours. Once we arrived we were upgraded to a newer unit that had been updated. This place was so spacious. It was perfect for the kids and the adults. More than enough space for everyone to not feel crowed. It was just perfect. This was on the American side. The kids didn't haven't have passports and since the trip was last minute we decided not to even bother getting them this time around. 

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After we settled in we went out for lunch. 
Nothing fancy just TGIFridays. Then we headed the Aquarium were we saw a seal show followed by a trip to the outlets. We had arrived to our home away from home at 11am and when we were coming back after the outlets it was only 6pm. It felt so much later thought. We ate some lasagna with garlic bread and this tomatoes and mozzarella mix that my cousin brought for dinner. It was delicious, and let's not forget the wine. 

After dinner the kids were in the living room watching TV and the adults sat around the table drinking more wine and talking. The perfect ending to our first day there. 

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Saturday we drove five miles to see the Falls. It was freezing out. I joked that the walk to the Falls was longer then what we lasted there. #Truth. I was bundled up pretty good with scarf, gloves, and a heavy duty coat and even with that my hands and face felt frozen. After taking a few pictures I just wanted to get out of there.

We stopped at a pizza shop for lunch and the owner told us of a few place to check out that were kid friendly. We ended up going to see the gingerbread house competition and life size house. It was super neat. We all got to decorate our own cookie too :) the kids had a great time and got to see Santa. 

Niagaras

Niagaras

We then headed back to the house to decide where we should go for dinner. We ended up staying in and ordering Chinese, which was pretty good. 

We were planning to do one more activity on Sunday before heading back home but they called for snow and we cancelled that. We wanted to get home before it got real bad out and luckily we did. About an hour after being home the roads and sidewalks were covered on snow. Thank god we got home when we did. 

AJ did very well with the six hour drive back home. In the morning we stopped for breakfast and he felt asleep about 1-1.5 hrs later until about an hour before we got home. I'd say he slept about 4 hours. And he didn't whine much either after waking up. I just fedhim some milk and he was good to go. My baby is a great kid to travel with :) Steven Jr behaved very well too. He spent most of the ride watching movies and playing the iPad. The last hour he entertained his brother. He takes his big bro job very seriously. 

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Overall it was a nice getaway. It seemed that we didn't do much due to the time of year it was but nothing beats great times with great company. The drive was totally worth it and I hope to do more weekends getaway this year. Great Wolf Logde is on the talks for our next getaway. I'm looking forward to that like you wouldn't believe :)


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Adrian's Nursery Reveal

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I cannot believe how long it has taken me to post this! Soon we'll be making the switch to a big boys room and here I am, a year after his birth, talking about his nursery. Shame on me. 

I started the planning of this nursery since the moment I found out we were expecting. I was super excited about it because he was going to have his own room and I was free to decorate as I wished. I knew a wanted a modern style crib but they were all so expensive. So when I found this crib at Walmart.com I didn't hesitate to order it. Which then turned into a gift from my brother (I love you Peter!) 

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From there I moved on to bedding. I wanted something along the lines of gender neutral. Nothing too bluish or boyish. I found this website while looking at other beddings in nursery ideas and right away I ordered that too. After our baby shower we had recieved so much cash and lots of gift cards that I decided to finish buying what I needed for the nursery. I took a trip to ikea with my mother and returned home with the dresser, frames, basket for dirty clothes, and bookshelf. Then I order a 9 cube cubby stand from Walmart as well and got the monkey basket from target the same day I went into labor. 

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I had seen some saying in frames on etsy and google that I wanted so I decided to DIY it myself. I had that saved up for months before finally printing it. 

My mom bought us the rocking chair and I put it together myself in no time. It was so easy and has served its purpose well the past year. 

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I used things from our baby shower and Steven's old toys we had saved away to place around the room to fill up space but one thing was getting to me. The blank wall behind the dresser. I wasn't sure if I just wanted a frame wall or a few canvases. I still haven't decided that's why it's still semi blank and the main reason why it took me so long to take pictures for the reveal. What I did do was place a wall decal with one of my favorite bible verse. 

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After getting this wall decal I'm thinking I will be going with canvases but since I haven't purchase anything yet that's not set on stone. 

Other special little details around the room are things like this personalized little blanket made with lots of love by a dear friend. A piggy bank given to us by one of the nurses at the hospital. She wasn't my nurse personally but she had great affection toward me and I'll forever cherish this gift. Another blanket made with love by another dear friend which I used for his monthly pictures. Lots of stuffed animals he got from other friends and loved ones. I keep a set of small speakers in the nursery to plug in the iPod or iPhones while AJ is in there.

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So there you have it. Adrian's Nursery Reveal in all it's glory. I have gotten many compliments when friends come over so that makes me happy. That even if it's not "fully" finished it looks like it is :) not to mention that my baby loves being in his room. Whether is for naps, overnight, feeding and diaper changes, or just to push the books off the shelves and pull the toys out of their cubby. 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Transitioning: the big chop!


I've been getting relaxers on my hair for years. I want to say from some point since 13-14 years old. That's a very long time of adding chemicals to my hair to make it straight. I don't recall why my mom decided to start giving me relaxers and she honestly doesn't know herself. Maybe peer pressure? Or for easier manageable hair?

imageAs a baby I had nice soft curly hair. Even at 3 years old I still had the same texture.  Fast forward to 5 years old. Then 11 years old and I have no idea what happened to that nice soft curly head of hair I once had. I want to blame it on the Caribbean sun but yea, that doesn't fly easily with most people. Hahaha. A very vivid memory I have of the first time I ever blow-dried my hair was at 10 years old. My cousin did it for me while my mom was working and oh boy did we get in trouble. My mom was not having it. Yet I loved it! My hair was so long. If my memory serves me right it was half way down my back. I felt in love with straight hair ever since then. 

When it comes to relaxing my hair I also like to think that the reason why my mom did it was because she couldn't handle my hair. I do remember it being extra puffy when air dried. But I don't recall ever having seen a curl on my head. So I never paid much attention to why I would get relaxers. What I do remember is loving the look afterward. 

All through middle school and high school I struggled with styling my hair. If it wasn't relaxed I never knew what to do to it. My go to hair style was the low messy bun. Sometimes I'd do it high too. Do you remember that hair-do? Did you ever try it? In high school I also learned how to crunch up my hair to make it curly. Thank God for friends! And ever since then the only way I knew how to make my hair really nice in curls was after a relaxer. Which makes no sense because relaxers are meant to straighten your hair not curl it. But anyways. After high school I continued with relaxers and as the years passed the time in between relaxers got less and less. It started with six months apart (when I first started getting them) to two months apart after high school. 

About 24 months ago I changed hair stylist and she would ask why I got relaxers. She said that I didn't need them. But I was so hooked on them that I was on denial. Nine months later I decided to try her method of no relaxers and see how it went. Worse case scenario I didn't like my natural texture and I would go back on getting relaxers.  Since then it has been 15 months since I got my last relaxer and guess what I found out guys??? I have curly hair!!!! 

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Notice how straight my ends are



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Ignore my super tiny ear in this picture. It's really not that little in real life.

Yes. Curly hair. Can you believe it! 

Earlier this year I made the decision to officially transition my hair from relaxed hair to my natural texture. From what I've seen it looks like I have curly hair. Right?. I don't know for sure what type of curls I have. It'll take some time for that. But since my BIG chop (about 3in of hair) four weeks ago I've noticed a big change in my curls. Meaning there's more bounce to it. I guess since I had so much dead ends it was weighing down my curls and by cutting a chunk of that hair it gave my curls room to breath and a bit of a break from all the pulling down. 

I've also made the decision to not apply heat to my hair while I'm transitioning, unless absolutely necessary (like wedding events). I think that's the hardest part of all because my hair is not quite how I would like to see it. It's still damaged from the relaxer chemicals and all the heat over the years. The only reason I decided not to apply heat is because I want to keep my hair as healthy as possible and to help it transition better. I'm not using gels, mousse, or hairspray either, again personal preference. Also when I went for the big chop I was so worried of how I would look with short hair that I think  my hair stylist got a bit scared and she didn't cut off all of my relaxed ends. There's still about 1-1.5" of relaxed ends. I'm thinking on going back and chopping off the rest and just worry about getting my hair healthy from this point on. The length will come in due time, there's nothing I can do about that but be patient and cut my ends regularly. 


For now I'm focusing on finding ways that I like to style my hair. I've tried curling my hair using the Bantu Knots method. I recently did two side braids and after taking it out the next day it didn't look bad at all, it gave my hair a wavy look. I'm thinking of doing more braid outs. I'm dying to try the curl formers method but haven't yet because that's a bit more pricier. Since I'm in the no heat challenge and Afros are not my thing I'm finding it hard to style my hair. But using heatless curls are not as bad and it's getting my hair used to having an S shape I guess. 

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This is one wild journey and I cannot wait to see real results. I read that even after getting a big chop you won't see your natural texture of hair for about another 6-9 months. I'm thinking if everything goes well by the end of the year I'll have a decent length and my natural curl texture. Eeeeekk!

I plan on documenting this journey so stay tune for product reviews, hairstyles, and updates. Also, If there's anyone out there going through the same journey or who have dealt with transitioning their hair whether is from relaxers, perms, colors, etc I'd love to hear your story, what worked for you, and what products and style you tried. 


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The story behind Pollo

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I haven't mentioned it but this is one of those memories that will probably fade with time or may stick around for years on end. 

When my Steven was born he had the pointiest lips. It reminded me of the movie chicken little. At some point during his newborn days I started to call him "chicken little". Is it just me or do we as parents tend to call our brand new baby tons of sweet name until one just so happens to stick with him/her? 

Well this one stuck. And almost 8 years later it's still around. 

Months later chicken little was translated to pollito. Which means the same thing but in Spanish. We would call him our pollito for everything and would even incorporate it into rhymes and songs. I'm almost positive grandma Zori started that trend. I never thought anything of it till the last year or so when I called him that in a public place and someone asked me "Did you just called him chicken little?" I answered yes, we laughed about it and that was the end. Later that day I thought about what had happened earlier. It was no big deal but did I really want my son to be known as or called chicken little for the rest of his life? I didn't think it was a big deal back in 2006 but today is a different story. 

Over the years as Steven grew his nickname also evolved and grew with him. No one called him Steven, it was always pollito. He knew what his name was but he liked to be call pollo. I remember times when we would be places and someone would ask him what his name was and he would flat out say pollito. Around 4 years old he gave himself the name Pollo because according to him pollito meant that he was little and now he was a big boy so he requested that we all call him Pollo. Within the same year the name evolved to Pollo Loco, crazy chicken. I don't know why he came up with that or how but it stuck. We'd come home from work etc and say "Hi pollo loco, how was your day?" 

This little part has nothing to do with the title of this post but I want to record it somewhere and what better place then here. Also around age 4 he had an obsession with Spider-man and all things superhero. For sometime he was known as pollolocospidermanbatmansupermanironman (insert last name here), did you catch all that? And I'm not exaggerating. To everyone that is anyone that's what my beloved son would say his name was. It's so funny the things kids come up with. 

Now he's more obsessed with Wolf and Vampires and likes to be called Stephen Salvatore. But that's a story for another day. 

Oh Steven. If you only knew how much better you have made my life. I love you son! 


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Five on Fridays

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1. Sweet Husband. 
My handsome and sweet hubby. Two weekends ago I wanted to go vineyard hopping as a birthday treat and he agreed. We visited 3 wineries and came home with 8 bottles of wine. All paid by the hubby as my birthday gift. Or so I thought. This past weekend he surprised me with a morning at the spa which was much needed and greatly appreciated. I'm lucky to have this man as my husband. Bless be his heart and our marriage. Love you babe!


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2. Independent Firstborn. 
He was such a trooper earlier this week when we all got hit with the stomach bug. Monday night he kept saying he wasn't feeling good and I felt like a cold was coming on on myself. The next day we both woke up feeling under the weather. We took showers and started getting ready for the day when suddenly it hweit us and a sick day it was. The only one without the big was the little one and he made sure to give us a run for our sleep. All while my firstborn was the one who was hit the worse and he pretty much took care of himself like it was nothing. He had no accidents at all by making to the bathroom right on time. And he didn't come to me for help with anything besides "mom can I have soup".  Other then that he was bed bound either sleeping or  watching saved by the bell. By the way, can you believe that show still attracts this generation! Whoa.  


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3. Sick Days. 
No one likes to be sick. Especially when you have started a new job and a month into it had to take a sick day due to strep throat. Then a month and a half later you take 2 sick days because of a stomach virus. I've learned to save my sick days for when absolutely necessary. Except that sometimes you have no other choice and that's when you have to go with the flow and make the best out of it. In my case, making the best out of days like this equals catching up on sleep and enjoying the days with my kiddos. Even if it means cuddling sick in bed all day.


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 4. Vacation. 
With about one month to go for our coming vacation I cannot stop thinking of all the things I want to do while there. In the past seven years, we've visited the Dominican Republic twice. This would be the third time and I want to make sure that we checkout out places we haven't seen yet. Must see on our list, or rather my list although I'm sure everyone will agree, are Samana and La Bahia de las Aguilas. I've heard about these places so much since I was a little girl and I am so very excited to finally be able to visit these places myself. By my research this far, it doesn't look like we'll be disappointed. 


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5. Devotionals. 
I've been feeling a bit under the weather spiritually lately and I just cannot seem to get over it. When I feel this way a simple prayer or bible verse seem to do the trick. This morning however, I woke up at 3:30am unable to fall back at sleep. After turning and tossing for two hours I decided to look through my bible app to simply be lead to a devotional I had started and not finished. "The Confident Woman" by Joyce Meyer. I love that lady! I went back to day 1 and I have to admit I was touched. Just what my soul needed. Don't you just love when that happens? :)  


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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Twenty-Seven

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Oh how sweet it is to be 27. 

Just like the last couple of years, as my birthday got closer and wonder how I wanted to celebrate it. It's funny how with each passing year you become more content with the less you do, no? Well this is how it is in my case. For even more special reasons that I haven't talked about as of yet, I wanted to spend another low-key birthday. 

A few weeks ago my dearest friend texted and and asked "your birthday is the 16 right?" I replied "Yes. Please no clubs". The last several years I've visited dancing clubs way to many times. And although it never really brought me any trouble I feel like I'm over the club stage. I want to do meaningful things with my life. I want to spend more time with my kids, husband, and family. I guess it's ok to visit a lounge from time to time but Latin clubs will be out of the picture for me. Just my own personal choice. 

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For this birthday I just said to myself that I would go with the flow. I didn't want to make a big deal about it and if I was to stay home it wouldn't bother me the least. As long as I was home with those I loved. So when the hubby said that his friend got him a ticket to go watch a boxing fight on my birthday weekend I got a bit upset. When he mentioned that there was a UFC fight that night too fumes were coming out of my ears. I'm not going to lie. I was Mad

Then one night this past week I woke up because AJ was crying. I headed to his room and when I returned I looked at the clock and it was only 3am and my bed was empty. Hubby had left to work already. All I could think about was how blessed I was to be married to a man whose first priority was to provide for his family regardless of what he had to sacrifice. In this case, sleep. I had a hard time going back to bed that night but one thing I knew was that I was not going to complain about him going out on my birthday weekend. He deserves to go out and relax and it wasn't his fault both events landed on my birthday weekend. 

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Came that weekend and I was calm. That Friday we had a delicious dinner at MIL's that hubby had picked up from a Peruvian Restaurant. We stood there pretty late and around 9pm I told the hubby that I was going to head home because I was tired. Since we had both of our cars there he had the option to stay longer if he wanted but he decided to leave too. Except that MIL had gotten me a small ice cream cake for my birthday. Tasty! I had no idea. Even when all the kids kept screaming "it's your birthday Pamela. Happy Birthday Pamela. How old are you now Pamela." It was pretty funny. Then I realized that they wanted cake and wanted me to come to the dining table. We didn't even sing, we went right to the cake. 

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The next morning the hubby wakes up and says he was going to get started on breakfast. Ummm okayyy. I stood watching TV with AJ but then the house smelled delicious and I just had to go checkout what he was making. When I got to the kitchen he had breakfast on a serving tray and was fixing my coffee. He said he was getting ready to bring me breakfast in bed. How sweet is he? We ate breakfast then he says I have one hour to shower and get ready because he had the morning planned out for me. Oohh really! I asked where I was going and he said just go get ready. You'll find out. 

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I've been dying for new couches so I thought we were taking a little trip to the furniture store but I was wrong. When I got dressed I got a message from the hubby with an address to my destination. He sent me on my way and to my surprise I ended up at a spa. I walked in, they were expecting me. They told me that my hubby had stopped by and paid for a package which included a manicure, pedicure, massage, facial, wash and dry. And tips. Let's not forget lunch. What?! I was definitely surprised. I was expecting a massage because I've been having really bad back pain and felt very stiff but he outdid himself with all the extras. 

Four hours later I left the spa feeling amazing! I decline the wash and dry because of my no heat challenge so they upgraded my facial. I wish I would have known earlier, I would have upgraded my massage instead. 

Later that day one of my coworker had invited us over for dinner and that's what we did. We headed over, meet the family, engaged in some fun conversation, ate a delicious meal, and talked some more. The hubby left early because of the fight he had to attend. Notice how I wasn't mad anymore. I had no right after the morning I had. I got home a few hours later and got the kids and myself to bed. 

Sunday came and it felt like any other Sunday, expect that I woke up to all three of my boys in bed with me. Heaven! After much loving we got up and had breakfast. Hubby went to run errands and I finished laundry and cleaning up. We had guests coming over for dinner. 

Remember that dearest friend of mine? Well for the 4th year in a row she surprised me with a tres leche cake. I kind of was expecting it and by her bringing it she set herself up for life. Now every birthday I'm going to expect a cake from her. Hahaha. She made her famous Ecuadorean rice and hubby grilled some BBQ Ribs. It was delicious! as always. We talked. Juiced. Drank wine. And finished my moms wedding invites. It was the perfect day. The perfect weekend. 

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I couldn't have asked for more. Lots of birthday wishes from lots of people. Being in the comfort of my own home. Surrounded by my husband and children, my mother and two of my siblings, my best friend and her family, and my brother-in-law. I seriously couldn't have asked for more. 

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Here's to an amazing year. To learning more and making less mistakes. To living healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually. To health, love, family, and friends. To me being the best that I can be. 

Happy 27th Birthday to me! 

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Five on Fridays


1. Skyping with SIL. I love how close we've gotten the last couple of years. I don't know if it's the distance or what but our relationship has evolved A LOT. She's like the big sister I always wanted and never had. Someone to look up to and get motivation from. Someone that I have no problem going to when I'm in a funk without feeling like I'll be judge. She gives me advice like that of a mother or grandma. She's the peanut to my butter. I cannot wait to see her this summer!

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 2. Wing Night. I've never been a chicken wing lover, I think it's because of how messy your face and fingers gets. I feel the same about BBQ ribs. I will not eat them in public.  But lately, I just can't seem to get enough. The hubby used to go out a lot on Tuesdays for wing night and he'd bring back some. I never ate them, little Steven did though. Then one day I was so hungry and decided to get one and OMG I've been hooked. We've been on a hunt to find the best wing place in town. So far we've been out to only two place and well let's just say whoa! Amazing! Last week we went to Buffalo Wild Wing which recently opened in our area and they have such a variety of flavors. And their service is just fabulous. Whoever, I felt like their wings were a little on the salty side. At first I thought it was the flavor Chicken Parmesan. But the honey mustard (my all time favorite) and the other flavor I tried were pretty salty themselves. Maybe it was just that day so I'll definitely have to try it again then I'll make a decision on them.  Keystone Pub keeps the 1st place award. For now. 

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3. Front Facing. This week we officially changed AJ from rear facing to front facing in the car. He got a new big boy car seat, which was much needed by the way. Last time I saw his doctor I asked when should the change be made and she said to delay the change as long as possible. She said that we could change the car seat whenever we wanted but that the new recommendations is to keep  children 2 years old and under rear facing as long as possible. I get that it's safer and all but how uncomfortable is that! I mean my little dude is tiny but he's pretty long. Having him facing backward was so uncomfortable for his little legs. He definitely needed the car seat change as well as the front facing part. He feels more connected to the world now. Or so I like to think. I didn't make the change earlier due to the cold weather. I would have hated to take him outside on my arms with just a coat n possibly a blanket over him. It was easier and warmer to have him bundled up and his infant car seat. But he's not an infant anymore and that car seat needed to go! I love looking back now and watch him look around from side to side and out the windows. I wonder what goes on in his head as he takes in so much more of the world this way. :) 

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 4. New Friends. I'm not one that can say that I have many friends. I can count with one hand the friends I have that I trust from here to the moon. However, this new job have brought me two new friendships. Two of my coworker have been super sweet to me. Well they all have been. That's like my favorite part of my job. My coworkers.  Anywho, back to these two girls. I got to go vineyard hopping this past weekend with them and we had such a great time. I don't know what the future has in store for us three but I sure hope its all good things. So cheers to new friends! 

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 5. YouTube. YouTube has been a big part of my life the past several weeks but more so this week. I'm on the road of transitioning my hair from being relaxed to my natural texture. Curls!  So finding ways to style my hair and physically seeing others who have transition and are transitioning themselves is vital. I look for products and styles that have worked for others and decide whether or not I want to try it. The "keyword" this week was Bantu Knots. I must have watched over 20 videos on this type of heatless curls. So yes, YouTube makes my top five best moments of the week. :) 


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