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Home For The Holidays

I guess I can’t call this post a travel blog.  I lived in New York for most of my life, so if you’re looking to read about all of the touristy spots, check back in May when my Nashville roommate, Kindell, is coming to visit for the first time.

I will be in New York until May!  That’s a little longer than I would like, but there are plenty of events going on in my family in 2015.  So I figured I’d hang around a bit and spend some time with my adorable niece and nephew.

In May, Kindell and I will be roadtripping it back to Nashville.  I’m super excited!!!

Anyway, back to New York… December was spent with my sisters in Staten Island.  I had somehow forgot how cold winter is.  I missed the change of seasons so much living in Florida that I forgot how much the weather interferes with my using public transportation and walking places.  I still managed to visit the first 2 Starbucks I ever worked at and chat with some of my old co-workers.  I also checked out Beans and Leaves on Forrest Avenue.  My friend Sa’iyda suggested we meet there after deciding it was too cold to walk Clove Lakes park.  Beans and Leaves has a very delightful staff, delicious coffee, and some vegan pastries!  It was nice to catch up with Sai and finally meet her baby boy!

I also sleepover with my oldest best friend in the world, Danielle.  She and I practically lived at each other’s house when we were kids, so it only seemed appropriate that our quality time included a sleepover.  She is also a mother now, so I had fun introducing her son to “The Chipmunk Adventure”, a movie Danielle and I both watched growing up.

Old friend time was way needed!  I’m reminded in all of the cities I’ve been to, and the many friends I visited, or made along the way, that every friend is special and my relationship with each of them is unique.  I am so blessed and thankful to have so many wonderful, warm people in my life.

As for my sisters, one particular night was special with them and my brother-in-law, who probably tunes us 3 out most of the time he’s with us.  He’s a quiet man, while our family is overwhelmingly loud together, haha.  We went to see Christmas lights at this amazing house on Sharrots Road.  The display is unbelievable with Santa’s workshop, elves, a carousel.  After we saw the house, we headed to Starbucks for hot chocolate and headed back to my sister Cindy and brother-in-law’s place to watch “Elf”.  It was a perfect night.

A couple of days before Christmas, I headed to Long Island to finally see my niece and nephew… oh, and my brother and sister-in-law, too.  But I was babysitting the kids that night and couldn’t wait to get some Aunt Sandy time!  They had both gotten so big and we had a ton of fun together watching movies, playing games, and staying up past their bedtime.

I felt like a kid on Christmas day because I played with just as many toys as the kids did.  My niece treats me like I’m a friend her age, so we played with dolls, made no bake cupcakes with her new baking set, and had a tea party.  The night ended with us watching “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”.  Perfect 🙂

New Year’s was spent back in Staten Island at my aunt and uncle’s house.  I hadn’t seen them or my cousins in about 2 years, so it was great to ring in 2015 with them!

Once the celebrating was over, I had a lot of alone time house-sitting in Long Island.  To say I wasn’t feeling a little cabin fever would be a lie.  While I did write a good amount of my upcoming novel, “The Reunion”, I felt stressed over money.

See, I write and create because I truly love it.  It’s my passion and without it, I probably wouldn’t be the peppy person I am.  However, the past four months have taught me something.  While it’s been great traveling and being a freelance writer and digital marketing strategist, it’s scary and stressful not having a steady paycheck.  Things turn around so quickly as a freelancer.  One month you can make a ton of money and the next, nothing.

I thought by leaving Starbucks, I was being bold, brave and finally didn’t have anything holding me back.  It’s only now I realize Starbucks wasn’t holding me back, I was.  I never gave myself enough credit as a writer or as a smart person.  I let society’s stigma of being in retail infect my brain, like I was wasting my time as a barista.

When really, I was kind of really smart about it all.  I had it made.  I could take time off whenever I needed to interview a celebrity or weeks off whenever to travel or transfer to a whole new state if I wanted to.  What was even better is I could still live my dreams and Starbucks flexed with them while still supplying steady income, benefits and people for me to connect with about my writing.

Most of my first readers were my Starbucks customers.  Most of my best friends are because I worked at Starbucks.  So, with a light heart, I am proud to announce the Traveling Barista is back!  I am so grateful for this company and the people I know at Starbucks who are always there for me when I need a friend, job, or just to vent.

I am truly blessed.  I will remember this when a nasty customer gives me a hard time.  They are the only paying full price for coffee and have nothing better to do than bitch at their barista while I punch out at the end of the day (usually in the early afternoon, take that) and live my dream.

My holiday pants to look at Christmas lights.
My holiday pants to look at Christmas lights.
Carousel at the decorated house on Sharrots Rd in Staten Island.
Carousel at the decorated house on Sharrots Rd in Staten Island.

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All of these dolls actually moved!
All of these dolls actually moved!

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These dancers whirled around! It was amazing.
These dancers whirled around! It was amazing.

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Selfie with my niece Sam. Happy we were reunited!
Selfie with my niece Sam. Happy we were reunited!
Breakfast with my nephew, Sebie. He reached over and held my hand, too cute!
Breakfast with my nephew, Sebie. He reached over and held my hand, too cute!
My sisters Cindy, Suzie and me seeing the Christmas lights.
My sisters Cindy, Suzie and me seeing the Christmas lights.

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