Tag Archives: love

Expectation vs. RL: Dating in Postgrad

Everyone knows the postgrad life is not exactly what we imagined….or what we had mentally and emotionally prepared ourselves for; so, this segment of Expectation vs. Real Life will focus on the dating scene and what to actually expect. It is not at all like the Disney suggested. Although, those princesses were basically pre-teens, so I guess we should have already accepted that we missed our prince charming.

Friday Nights

Expected: Going out every week and flirting the night away with your large group of friends

Reality: Getting home from work and barely being able to make it to the couch to turn on Netflix

blog1-1-1   VS.   blog1-2

Dating Apps

Expectation: Mutually swiping right for a select few compatible mates

Reality: Aggressively swiping right for everyone because you are desperate and no one swipes back

blog2-1  VS. blog2-2


Expectation: Professional, confident, likable, and cute

Reality: Completely oblivious to everything because it’s been so long and you are totally behind the times

blog3-1   VS.  blog3-2


Expectation: Opposites attract, like-forces attract, you can make anything work

Reality: Anything and everything that is just a little bit different between you two is a GIANT pet-peeve

blog4-1 VS.  blog4-2

Meeting “The One”

Expectation: Some adorable, romantic, once-in-a-lifetime moment

Reality: Making a pact as children to be stuck marrying each other if you weren’t married by 30

blog5-1  VS.  blog5-2

First Dates

Expectation: Romantic, unique adventure that ends with staring up at the stars

Reality: Typical chain restaurant that ends with you two walking separately back to your car

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Date Conversations

Expectation: Cute and sexy 20-questions

Reality: Complaining about loans, lack of money, a horrible job, and life as a twentysomething

7-1   VS.  blog6-2

Social Media

Expectation: Candid photos showing how in love you both are, whilst showing off how much fun you are having in life

Reality: Continuous and unappealing selfies that make you two look more like a mess than anything else

blog7-1   VS.   blog7-2

Have anymore expectation vs. real life dating scenarios? Comment below!


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Travel to Live, Work to Travel

I need to preface this with: I have been beyond blessed in my life. I have had the humbling opportunity to travel multiple times every year of my life.

21 states and 6 countries, and I am not even close to going everywhere I want to go. I have learned many things as a result of my constant need to explore, things I think more people need to understand. I wholeheartedly stand by the idea to make money (i.e. have a job, no matter how minimal it is) to travel. Honestly, I do not need a huge house or an expensive car; I need a plane ticket and an adventure. The peanuts-salary from my student job is what got me on a cruise a couple weeks ago and is getting me to Orlando later this summer. Work hard, travel plenty.

So many of my friends have not been to other countries, have not been to many states in our own country, or have not even explored most of our own home state. It makes me sad for those friends because I cannot imagine a life without exploring and traveling. I understand money is a huge deal, but there are some very cheap ways to explore: travel around your home state (a tank of gas or two, tops), drive to a nearby state (save loads of money on airfare), visit places where you know someone lives and crash with them for free (free housing and having a local who knows the cheap places to eat). Trust me, I get it; I am a graduate student with virtually no income, so I get it. But, that also does not stop me.

See, my mother instilled wanderlust in me at 2-months old, so I really cannot help it. My parents packed me up in June, after my wonderful arrival onto this planet in April, and took me to Tennessee… no wonder I am a Florida girl who loves mountains. My mom has planned our family trips every year and other small travel adventures throughout the year. That was merely the beginning. Quarter of a century later, I have quite the list of destinations checked off.

Antelope Canyon (1)

1. Traveling increases your appreciation

By seeing new places, new people, new livelihoods you learn to appreciate your life, your home, our planet. You appreciate the  Earth, the varied landscapes across the country (or between countries), the sunrises and sunsets, and how other people live and work. You are grateful for this life, thankful for the opportunities, and appreciative of the moment. It is hard to put into words how you feel after you travel, but basically just think: humbled with ear-to-ear-grin happiness. You come back thankful for the experiences and thankful for the place you call home. Warning: you will also come back home with an even stronger urge to travel more; it is a cycle that never ends, really.

Waterfall (1)

2. You will never regret going

The only thing you will regret is not being able to see everything….. and regret not being a millionaire, so you can quit everything and just travel for the rest of your life. I have never come back from a trip unhappy; even when I got food poisoning (two different trips, nonetheless), I did not come back thinking I should have never left. I would go back to those places in a heartbeat – just now I would know where to not eat.

Ireland1 (2)

3. You learn things that are not in textbooks

Many people say you learn new cultures, new values, new religions while you travel, and it does happen to some extent no matter how close to home (or far) you travel. Traveling anywhere, from the state next door, to the country next door, to the opposite side of the planet, can teach you something. You might learn things like how to travel on your own, how to use common sense, how to follow directions/maps, or how to to make big decisions. Or, perhaps, you learn about different cultures and ways of life. You might learn how people in other states pass their time, or how people with a different language interact with one another. Maybe you will even learn the food preferences of that community. Some closed-minded people have told me they do not care to travel because nothing out there seems that exciting. How do they know that? You cannot say you don’t like other places because you have never been.

Grand Canyon (1)

4. Your senses will explode

Literally, your eyes will start twitching from the beauty-overload. Places like the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, the beaches, and other natural wonders will make you freak the heck out. Even big cities will make you awe-struck with the architecture, the busy-bee lifestyle, the large light-up signs, and elegant shops. Of course everywhere is different, which only reiterates how much you should travel in your life. Only going to the same big city or only going to the same mountainous getaway is not “traveling” but merely “vacationing.”  The smell of nature, the smell of flower fields, the smell of fisheries, the smell of coffee shops, the smell of local restaurants’ cooking, or the smell of exhaust fumes from a big city are all things you will remember and carry on with you even after you leave a place. The sounds of nothingness, the sound of birds chirping, the sound of rain, the sound of waves, the sound of constant movement and traffic, and the sound of people you meet where you go will stay with you long after you get back home. The feeling of the wind or dry air or misty rain or sand between your toes will never leave you.

Tahoe (1)

5. There are always surprises

Good or bad surprises, you will have some. Maybe it rains the whole time and you have to find other ways to explore the city. Or maybe you stumbled across a hidden gem while getting lost…. I mean meaningfully meandering. Perhaps you start talking to a local at dinner one night and learn about some secret, local-known spot to visit. Maybe you will meet new friends, or maybe you will find out you want to move to that town. Maybe the local cuisine pleasantly surprises you. Anything is possible, and this is another lesson that traveling teaches you: be prepared for anything and just go with the flow. Traveling is supposed to be fun and not micro-managed. Just see what is out there!

Now, get to traveling, folks!



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Love: an intense feeling of deep affection; a person or things that one loves.

Valentine’s Day  is normally associated with couples, lovers, relationships. But, if we are going to look at this day at face value, it is not meant for just those people in relationships.
Love has no boundaries, is not meant for specific people or relationships, is not meant to be restricted by people.

We need to recognize love in our life that does not come from a significant other. We need to recognize love from other people, from other things, and from moments in life. Love is not bound to a boyfriend or girlfriend, or to a person for that matter.


Love comes from our family

Love comes from our friends

Love comes from our pets

Love comes from studying what we like in school

Love comes from pursuing our dreams 

Love comes from ourselves appreciating our worth 

Love comes from those laughs shared with people who know us

Love comes from the apology from someone close

Love comes from the sunrise

Love comes from your past, your present and your future


So Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. I hope you feel the love today!



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Why I actually need a boyfriend 

It is almost Valentine’s Day everyone, and we all know what that means: a day of constant reminders that we are in fact still single. Looking at all of the cute couples posting photos of their nice dinners out, flowers, champagne glasses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, etc., I actually only think of the practical reasons I would need a significant other. 

I mean I can buy myself a whole bottle of champagne. My mom gets me chocolates. And my dad can send me flowers….if I ask him….and then remind him again….and then again. But still, I don’t need a man for all of that. 

I don’t need a guy for anything romantic. 

Not to tell me I’m beautiful because I am…on the inside. 

Not to hold my hand because I tend to not see cracks in the sidewalk and don’t need to take both of us down. 

Not to buy me chocolates because those are always on my weekly grocery list. 

Not to watch movies with because I get way too invested in the characters and get emotional…no one needs to see me like that. 
However, what I do need a boyfriend for is…

To pay for my meals  

To kill bugs for me 

To clip my jewelry together


To pay for my Netflix subscription


To remind me to pay my bills 


To drive my places


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Today is the day!

We all know it is time for the beautiful gowns on abnormally gorgeous women, and men in tuxes that actually fit their bodies absolutely perfectly, unlike those awful tuxes you were exposed to at your high school prom.
Gems and diamonds just dripping off of everyone and designer names being thrown around as often as the word “fries” is screamed at McDonald’s.

But this year, the Oscars is going to be a different kind of special.

For this is the year that all of his hard work is going to be awarded.

This is the year that everyone in the world can stand on their feet and salute the winner of Best Actor.

This is Leo’s year. Why should he win Best Actor?

1. Obviously, his role as Mr. Hugh Glass in The Revenant  and surviving a bear attak


2. He was robbed in 2013 by Matthew McConaughey


3. As he was robbed of the award in 2004 and 2006 (we won’t mention those names)


4. He is as worthy as previous winners such as Colin Firth, Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and many other great actors.


5. He has crushed every role he has undertaken (Wolf of Wall Street, Great Gatsby, Inception, Shutter Island, Blood Diamond…the list goes on, unlike the list of his Oscar wins….)


6. He is so good that he even has made you hate his guts at times (cough, cough…Django)


7. He was never properly awarded for not trying to get on that wooden plank and basically killing himself in Titanic


8. Lastly, he is single so please let Oscar comfort him late at night at least, Academy!



I’d like to take credit now for making #OscarforLeo a trending hashtag, so you’re welcome.







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adOPTtion – The New Pregnancy

Get it? OPT to ADOPT? I’m so clever, right?

1 in 6 Americans are impacted by adoption – I’m one of them.

Did you know there are 106,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted?

Did you know 23,000 children age out of the foster care system each year with no family?


Although National Adoption Month is for raising awareness of those children in foster care, I believe all adoptions, foster care or not, are very important! Foster care children tend to live without a forever family and many only leave when they turn 18 years old. Love is not bound by genes or blood. Love is not strictly between a mother and her biological child. Love is for all the children of this world. Let’s create a movement to leave no child behind.

Here are a few myths and things to think about, regarding adopting:

  1. “I cannot have children so I will never be a mother or father”

Some people are infertile and take the news like a gunshot to the heart. I understand it is sad and a monumental moment in one’s life. However, there are those, who say they can never be a mother or father anymore because of it. Is a child, who is not made up of the same genes as you, not able to be your child? 106,000 children are waiting for parents and a family. These children are afraid no one will ever love them. You can be a mother or father to these children and change their life in more ways than you could ever imagine. You will not only be a parent but also a savior for these boys and girls. You will save them, not create them. You will love those who need love the most. My parents had boys but wanted to be a mother and father to a daughter. Thus, I came into the picture. And obviously made things way better!

  1. “You never know what you’re going to get”

That’s right. You could get an addiction baby, a baby with a disease, a baby with future behavioral issues. Did you know that your own child (made of your blood and genes) could have a disease? Did you know your biological child could have a hereditary disease passed down along family lines? Or maybe your biological child could have an extra chromosome? Or did you know your biological child could have major behavioral issues? Among the evil people of this world, terrorists, serial killers, sexual predators, etc. do you know how many are adopted? Only a few (if any). So no, you don’t know what you’re getting when you adopt a child. However, you have just as little idea when you have a biological child. It’s absurd to use this excuse, and that is all it is: an excuse. My parents got a brilliant, beautiful, angelic bundle, called me. You’re welcome, dad and mom, for being way better than what you thought you were getting.

  1. “The child might never feel like a part of the family”

This is also true…if you treat them like they aren’t part of the family. Love and discipline your adopted child as you would any of you children. It is not that hard of a concept. If you treat them as if they are an outsider, then they will grow up feeling like that. However, showing that parental love, that supportive care, having loads of fun, and making memories will help that child feel a part of you. You will probably even forget you never carried that child yourself! I think I even look like my brothers and my parents, minus the fact that they all wear glasses (go me). Also, you will never be called the child’s “adoptive parents”….my parents are MY PARENTS….no other adjective, except “wonderful” or “loving” or “supportive” and so on. I have never felt like an outsider….I got picked on by my older brothers like true siblings and wrapped my parents right around my cute, pudgy little finger from day 1. What’s more authentic than that?

  1. “You have to love your child”

When you have a biological child, you have to love them, right? They’re your flesh and bones. However, when you adopt a child you chose to WANT to love. How great of a feeling is that? You don’t have to love your child; by opting to adopt, you want to love. You have all this desire to be a parent and help a child grow to their full potential; that’s real love. It is amazing to know my family wanted to love me. And they also have to love me because I’m amazing, and they would be crazy not to.

  1. “All foster kids are labeled as ‘special needs’”

They are only given that label because a lot of children are taken from abusive situations or neglect situations. It does not mean that they need special education needs or have mental disorders or anything of the sorts. A lot of people worry the child may have been a “crack baby” or an “addiction baby” but some women give up their baby because they cannot financially or emotionally care for a child. It is honestly better they do give that child up for adoption than attempt to care for the baby. I’m not a crack baby or an addiction baby or any kind of baby other than a perfect package of loveliness. And there are many more babies like me out there, too. I may be special, but that’s just because I’m too sarcastic and sassy for my own good usually…and I love food too much. #sorrynotsorry

Hands make heart shape

Hands make heart shape


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National Coffee Day

Ah, coffee: the only legalized ecstasy in the world.

It’s bitter. It’s sweet. It’s the only “good” in mornings. It has a hold on our souls.

Coffee is the #1 addiction in the world. So, of course, this special beverage gets its own day. Let’s celebrate all of the greatness surrounding coffee!

To the plain, black, bitter original. Thanks for keeping us focused for exams, papers, presentations, and life all together.coffee7

To the sophisticated, a tad sweet, iced coffees. Thank you for cooling us on those hot summer days, while simultaneously giving us a little buzz for the day. coffee1

To the lattes, cappuccinos, expressos, and macchiatos. Thank you for making us feel pretty while we drink you. Thank you for the artistic flare, the foamy froth, the acceptable moment for pinky-up sipping.


Thank you coffee for all the times we were mad at Starbucks for spelling our names wrong and making us think we have a speech impediment. The name is “Shayla”, but I guess it’s harder to sound out than I think.

                           coffee3 coffee6

Thank you for the ability to show off our uniqueness through coffee mugs and traveling cups. Without these accessories, how else would we be able to express ourselves?


Thank you for the ability to flood our Instagram with these types of photos and annoy our followers. What could be a more perfect subject-matter than my feet and top of the coffee lid? Coffee, you are so photogenic.


And most importantly, thank you for initiating our intestinal processes for the day. We love having to rush to the bathroom moments after arriving to work. But it’s always worth it…anything for you, love.


We will be forever indebted to you, every single day of our decaffienated lives.


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National First Love Day

Today is one of the greatest celebrations of all time: National First Love Day.

I cannot even handle my emotions right now. I am very upset I only just learned this day was happening.

I’m so giddy to celebrate this celebration with my first love:

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Our relationship is quite diverse.

We have had our ups and downs. My first love has made me sick before, but we always make it through the tough times. Some of the time, my first love talks back to me. But that’s okay. I’ll always forgive you, my love.

My first love always puts a smile on my face, especially those cookie runs in the middle of the night. What a sweet (literally) memory.

Thank you for making me whole (and full) again. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for the great times. Thank you for letting me eat you.


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9 Instagrams You NEED to Follow

While perusing my Instagram feed on my photography account (zachrielle_photo), I have come across some really extraordinary work. Some photographers out there are REAL GEMS.

Other photos I scroll through are okay (if even that, sometimes), but they get hundreds or thousands of likes. I refuse to click that little heart button out of pure stubbornness. At the same time as seeing these photos, I see some real gorgeous work that has less hearts clicked. It boggles my mind how this happens. Are the “okay-photo” accounts paying for their likers? I call those cheaters.

Therefore, I’ve decided to showcase some of the accounts that I believe should have more love. Go love them.

(These aren’t in any specific order)

Ready to be amazed?….

  1. Fieldgurl

Instagram (1)

I mean is this from Jurassic Park? Or maybe it’s a scene from an urban-Hogwarts train ride? It can’t be real, right? IT IS.

2. PeaceInArtPhoto

Instagram (2)

I feel so at peace when I look at this. Can’t you just feel that mist flowing over you? I CAN.

3. SethVDL

Instagram (3)

This is fake. JUST KIDDING! I can’t look away from this one. It’s perfection.

4. ekl222

Instagram (4)

This reminds me of some sweet romantic story. The purple hue makes me feel thankful for some reason.

5. bakersamantha

Instagram (5)

Artsy? Check. Colorful? Check. Geometric? Check. Urban? Double check.

6. ancient_sky

Instagram (6)

So I first saw this and thought, “Not real” but is in fact VERY REAL! It’s actually a national monument, fancy, huh?

7. gsolvang

Instagram (7)

Yes I know. Speechless over this beaut. Those colors are on point. Everything about is on point, actually.

8. jrice.photography


First, how does one even think of such a great position for a photo?! But she nailed it. And the lighting, magnificent.

9. alpine_amy


Definitely thought this was from a post card until you notice her entire Instagram feed has photo like these. YAS.

So you’re welcome for making you wanderlust. And you are all very welcome for showing you how to make your Instagram feed much more beautiful and colorful.


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5 Stages of Grief Over “Parks and Rec”

The fantastic show, Parks and Rec, is coming to an end this season. This series taught us that being a little neurotic with your work is okay, or being really dumb doesn’t mean you won’t find a job or a purpose in life, or hating everything in the world won’t keep you from finding love, or being married to an extremely hot woman still won’t make you the most popular man in the office. Here’s to Leslie Knope and her crew! And here’s to the tissue-overload!

Phase 1: Denial


Ron Swanson, you good sir have said it correctly. There literally must be some mistake. I mean, only 7 seasons, and they are calling it quits? There is no way. It must have been an error in the paperwork. Amy Poehler, did you by chance switch your divorce papers with the scripts? This is the beginning of the end. But not really, right? I mean, Netflix has already stepped up its game and put Season 1- 6 online. So it can never end…correct?

Phase 2: Anger

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Honestly, this may be the stage I stay in for a while. Donna couldn’t have said it any better: What. The. Bleep. If someone was standing right next to me, they would have a huge black eye right now. I am just having flashbacks to all the times “Really Jerry?!” was yelled, or when Leslie didn’t get her way right away, or when Ron spouted on about the government. All of these acts of anger/aggression are exactly how I feel right now. When the last episode shows, someone will die.


Phase 3: Bargaining

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Okay, so maybe they say it is the end of the road…for now. We all must stand up to petition for a Parks and Recreation Reunion season already! Do not give up on hope. Is it too much to ask for this show to live on forever? We bargain our time watching other shows to beg for more Parks and Rec.

Phase 4: Depression/Sadness

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There wasn’t just one scene snapshot that could properly depict all the emotions we will feel. It is as rough as this, times one-hundred. Ann, you beautiful, naïve, sophisticated newborn baby. Crying and depression and emotional pains are all the feels I will have during this last season.

Phase 5: Never Accepting


We now reach the fifth and final stage of depression. Even though we are to accept the end of the series, it is just not possible. Just smile through the pain, attempt to laugh it off, and never accept the ending of Parks and Recreation. NBC, you’re on my list.

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