Virtues from Motherhood: A Poem for Mom

Let me tell you something about my mom and I.

Ten years ago, I was a rebellious teenager and we didn’t get along, but she loved me anyway.

Eight years ago, I got pregnant as a teenager, but she loved me anyway.

Five years ago, I was struggling to find a balance between who I wanted to be and where I was, but she loved me anyway.

Two years ago, I graduated college with my associates degree, and she was there to cheer me on.

A year ago, I said I wanted to take more credits to finish college faster, and she was there to cheer me on.

When I can’t make sense of something, she’s there to calm me down.

When I’m not seeing the whole picture, she’s there to shine a light. When I just need someone to talk to, she is there to listen.

When I feel lost in the world, she is there to guide me.

You see no matter where I’ve gone in life, or how many times I’ve strayed from the path, she has always been there calling my name, holding me accountable, and for that I will always be thankful.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and best friend, I love you.

Virtues from Motherhood: Who’s really there?

I can’t begin to explain what a blur the last 6 months have been for me. The night before thanksgiving my grandfather was taken to the hospital with pneumonia, I prepared for another tax season, final projects started heating up and I barely knew which way was up. It feels like organized chaos that I just dove into and somehow managed to hold my breath long enough to survive.

I can hardly wrap my head around the fact another summer is beginning. I’m not entirely sure how I got through this rollercoaster year but I am certain the company I keep has a lot to do with it. A lot of relationships changed for me, friends and family alike, but so many more blossomed. I have met so many great people and been apart of so many great things that I might not have been part of had someone not literally dragged me to it. But that is what made me realize, people who really do care about you are going to force you to see your potential when you’re too distracted to see it yourself. I am grateful for the people in my life and the energy that’s surrounded me these last few months, not all are blessed with what I have.

For instance, some of the residents of the rehabilitation home my grandfather was in had nobody at all. These people are all alone in the world, nobody comes to visit them, their spouses have passed and some have children who don’t call, if they had any children at all. The night my grandfather arrived at the facility I was frazzled and confused about his condition and I didn’t really pay much attention to the other patients on the floor, I feel bad in retrospect because they were just trying to be friendly. After though, we found out most had no family at all, wives or husbands gone and now confined to the facility because they couldn’t live alone. Some seemed so sad and lonely and it really broke my heart, so whenever we go up to see my grandfather I make a point to say hello to anyone I see too.

I think it’s easy to get lost in our own lives, our own troubles and gripe about what we don’t have but we should all make a point to realize all we do have. While no family is perfect we should be grateful we have a table to sit at. Despite the people in our lives not being perfect, we need to be grateful those people are there for us, because some people sit quietly in solitude because those people in their lives have gone.

Virtues from Motherhood: The People you meet

Throughout your life you’ll meet hundreds if not thousands of people, some significant and some not, but all a part of the mosaic of our lives. As my journey at City Tech enters its final chapter I find myself reflecting on my very different experiences in college. I started my journey in college at John Jay, made a brief stop at Kingsborough and now I find myself here. Every school meant something for me, and occupied a different time in my life. When I arrived at John Jay I still wasn’t sure who I was, let alone what I hoped to find in college and it was a very lonely and turbulent time and I don’t have any fond memories there. At Kingsborough, I was just starting to get my life and my goals back on track so I was more focused on getting what I needed to do, done.

When I got to City Tech though I had a better idea of who I was, I knew I was going to achieve what I set out and I wanted to make the most of my experience here. I made friends the second week I was here, and they’ll be lifelong ones at that. I’ve become a part of so many things on campus, met so many great faculty members and peers as well and that alone is invaluable to me. I found when I opened myself up to new experiences and wasn’t afraid to contribute my voice and ideas, that great things happened, like being a part of The Buzz.

As you move through different chapters of your life, don’t be afraid to stop in and say hello, to your peers, your professors, a nonprofit group, a school program or even a free event. Just say hello, share what you have to give, your great ideas, your voice, your artistic abilities because you never know just how valuable you might be to someone or someplace. I’ve been blogging for over a year now and I have met so many great people, bloggers, advisors and mentors that I will carry on with me even after my time at City Tech ends.

With that I would like to extend my well wishes to Phil Kreniske, who will be leaving The Buzz for another great, and well deserved, opportunity. I wish him well and thank him for him time and contributions with The Buzz and its bloggers, you will be greatly missed.

Virtues from Motherhood: All things bloom in the spring

If you’ve been outside in the last ten days you’ve noticed that the weather has begun to get warmer, trees are blooming and tulips are waking from their winter slumber. If you’re like me you’ve looked in the mirror and realized just how much you missed the warm breeze and sunshine, so I’ve made a pledge to not waste a moment of it. Earlier this month I went to the highline with Ava and my best friend, Mariah. Although I’ve been there before this was the first time I was there when the shops and food vendors were up there and I was pleasantly surprised at the variety and delightfulness of the treats.

After visiting the highline I started scavenging Facebook and twitter for other public parks or spaces that have vendors, like the ones in Prospect Park or Williamsburg. Before the weather gets to sweltering to tolerate I want to get lost in the small treasures of this city, with Ava, and show her all the city around her has to offer. I’ve posted about my love for wandering the city before but I want to give that to Ava as well because one day she might look for things right in her own backyard.

Sometimes in the haste and bustle of our every day lives we forget to stop and smell the flowers, admire the skyline or even taste a street cart treat. I’m on the cusp of turning 27 (next month) and as my 20’s near their close I want to start making memories that last, experiencing things I hadn’t before. Though I’m learning age is just a number, as is time, none of us are immune to father time and one day we won’t be so fortunate to be able to walk 20 city blocks on a whim or take the steps to the subway 2 at a time.

So in the meantime, I challenge you to stop and look around, look at the flowers, stop in a new coffee shop, get off the train a stop early and check out the mom and pop shops in the area or just treat yourself to a take out goodie.

Virtues from Motherhood: Family is key

When I say family naturally I mean those who are related to you, parents siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, but I also mean people who although absent of biological connection still feel like a family member. The people who’ve known you your entire life, helped raise you or even silently routed for you from the sidelines are the people who see the best in you. People who see the best in you bring out the best in you.

Over the past decade I’ve learned that family really is everything. Though I pushed them away and alienated them in my teen years they’ve still been a constant in my life. At every holiday, birthday party and get together and through every family crisis or hard time they offered a helping hand and a year ago as I walked across the stage to get my first college degree I realized that all the people that I chose over my family were notably absent from my graduation, my family was there. So as my 26th birthday approached I thought more and more about how I wanted to celebrate it. At first to be honest I didn’t really want to celebrate it at all I just wanted to relax after a really long 6 months of working and going to school. After some more thought though and the warm summer sun peaking put I decided I’d throw myself a BBQ and have my family and just handful of friends over to celebrate, laugh and just relax. I could have planned a night on the town and gotten dressed up but I truly did not feel like doing it because not only had I done it for every birthday since I turned 21 I was just lazy.

So I bought some BBQ food, some snacks, a few drinks and got to work. It was the first event I had planned for myself that every person I invited RSVP’d and showed up, it was also the first family gathering where I invited more than one friend and didn’t cringe when everyone co-mingled. It was truly a great experience and so worth the time and money that went into it because instead of a fancy dinner in a room of mostly strangers I was at my house, with my family and friends, enjoying the weather and one another and after I had cleaned up the yard, put away the tables and closed the lights I realized I felt light, happy and I was thankful.

As I’ve gotten older I have learned countless things, sometimes the hard way, but mostly I’ve learned that family is forever and some people despite not being related are family and are stronger forces in your life regardless of how long they’ve been there. Life weaves together this tremendous basket for us, one that keep store our keepsakes in; life lessons, memories, fears and ambitions. In the fabric of that basket, woven deep within the stitches lie the people who’ve helped create the basket, both past and present. However some people weave stronger stitches in our basket than others and are part of our main stays. These are the people I want to celebrate birthdays with and these are the people that make me smile and drag me out of the house when I least feel like it. Though I am far from perfect, no human being is really, I can say that I’m happy with a low key celebration as I age because memories like that will live on for me for years to come. Family is constant, supportive friends are crucial and I am lucky enough to say I have both and for that I’m tremendously thankful.

Virtues from Motherhood: Learning to be a leader

A few years ago I read a fortune from a fortune cookie that said “ Leadership is the ability to hide your panic from others” and I thought, this is the strangest thing ever. You’d assume a leader is a leader because they have it all ironed out and have no need to panic, boy was I wrong. Aside from the very obvious form of leadership, motherhood, I had to develop and fine tune my professional leadership, which is very different from my role as a mom. As a mom my leadership is tiered and drawn out over Ava’s entire life, but professional and peer leadership is very “at the moment” focused.

My cultivation of professional leadership was thrust upon me at 23, when I became the office manager for an H&R Block location. I had recently become a certified tax pro and my district manager felt I was ready to lead an office, I was flattered but also nervous. I was the youngest employee in the office, and now I was the boss? I had to manage people twice and nearly three times my age and that alone seemed intimidating. The other component was meeting all these goals, deadlines and expectations where there was little or no room for error and sometimes that meant thinking on my feet. Spoiler alert, I still have my job so clearly I did something right but at times it felt like I was just winging it and that’s when that fortune cookie saying made sense to me, panic but don’t show it.

I didn’t really grow into myself or feel comfortable speaking to people until I hit my mid twenties, before that I would grin and bear it but I would turn really red, stumble over my words and rush through whatever it was I was saying. This job role, as well as my time at City Tech, helped me groom and polish my speaking and leadership skills because it showed me that when you have something to say people will listen, they will regard your words.

Leadership doesn’t come easy though, I have classes with peers who are deathly afraid of speaking to the class and during group projects they hide behind the podium and happily let me speak. As I’ve taken senior courses though, more and more professors stop me and call them out, because I have this skill and rather than do it for my peers I should teach them or encourage them to be able to do the same. At first this annoyed me (because I hate group work and my doing the whole project is just easier to me) but then I realized that at one time it was me who was hiding beside the podium and being a wallflower. I had a math professor who made us present algebraic equations in a group project and I am awful at math so I took a back seat, but this professor wouldn’t leave me alone she made me read and do more than half the work when we presented, and I though I’d die. Clearly I didn’t die because I wrote this blog post but I do recall the fear and anxiety that moment gave me and I realize why my professors now ask me to not just do the project for them but show them how.

Leadership is a learning curve and sometimes I am absolutely winging the sh*t out of whatever it is I’m doing, but I know if I don’t get it right there’s a lesson in there, be it don’t wait till 3 days before or how to better use a computer program, there is a take away. Leading is always going to be a give and take because a good leader knows sometimes the best form of leadership is stepping aside and taking notes, we can’t all be good at everything and a good leader knows that they don’t work above the team they work with them.



Virtues from Motherhood: A reminder about love

Too often we find ourselves in toxic relationships, both men and women, and question how we let ourselves fall into this unhealthy pattern when we know better. Sometimes we’re able to tell other people the things they need to hear to be strong and pick up and move on but we cannot seem to grasp it in our own lives. In my own life and even that of the people close to me I’ve found such amazing people in some unfair situations but rather than write a traditional blog post about it I’m going to write an open ended list of what love is and I hope my readers will add to it. Also, always remember love starts with YOU, love yourself, love your body, love your strengths and weaknesses and love every day you wake up with the chance to shine!








Lazy Sundays with take out and TV

Enjoying one another without words

Forgiving imperfections

Helping one another grow

Good Morning notes

Bringing home their favorite snack after a bad day


Forehead kisses

Understanding their past without prejudice

Letting go of fear

Experiencing new things together






One sided






Remember that no matter what you’re going through or what you’ve been through you deserve love. Love takes work, commitment and a desire to build with each other and most of all it takes time. Nevertheless there is never ever an excuse for love to consume you life in negative ways or to break you to the point of losing who you are. Love should be the harmony of two lives living side by side it is not a force that rules your life. Love is happy.


So tell me, what is love to you?



If you or someone you know is struggling visit for ways to help.

Virtues from Motherhood: My work with the FYLC and OpenLab

On March 3rd I attended the second of three workshops with the FYLC, this one about using the OpenLab as a tool in the classroom. The discussion ranged from technical to academic concerns, all while trying to bridge the gap between high school and college. At the last workshop the focus was the struggles incoming college students deal with but this time the focus shifted to how to get them involved and engaged in the classrooms. With me at this workshop were the some of the masterminds here at The Buzz, Jill Belli and Phil Kreniske, who helped the audience of professors and faculty, understand the benefits and best practices surrounding the OpenLab.

My portion of this workshop was centered around my use of the OpenLab, how it’s benefited me as a student and peer mentor and how professors can better use the OL to get students excited and engaged with the work. I use the OL for many tasks on campus, like right now as a blogger, but I also use it as a peer mentor to orchestrate and update the FYLC page and of course in my own courses. I love the OL and I love the uniqueness and open concept it represents, versus blackboard which is gray in more than one sense of the word. The OpenLab gives students control, a say in essence, that they don’t otherwise have with academic websites and that makes a world of difference for a student.

As a college student I’ve seen multiple websites and hosts for academia but the OL has got to be my favorite because it in a sense reminds me of a social media platform. It’s colorful and it’s easy to access and connect to my other go to apps. Students are already online, on their phones, so why not make a platform that works seamlessly with a students lifestyle because don’t forget the millennial era student has a much larger digital footprint than previous generations.

Virtues from Motherhood: A learning curve

Early one morning as I was getting Ava ready for school she saw me wearing a new pair of flats and told me I looked pretty and that she hoped my friends at work would like them too. I thanked her but then I decided to follow it up with a reminder; it doesn’t matter if anyone else likes my shoes, I like them and that’s all that matters. She paused for a moment and then echoed what I said, so I took the opportunity to clarify with her that she should never worry about other people liking what she’s wearing, what music she likes or how she wears her hair. If she loves herself that is all that matter, because if you can’t love yourself and be sure of who you are then relationships with other people will fail by default.

Self love is a message we are constantly trying to teach young children, we want them to celebrate their diversity and everything that makes them unique but that message starts at home. I am raising a daughter in a somewhat chaotic time in the world, women’s rights have a tumultuous relationship with the justice system and self identity is highly scrutinized. Nevertheless I want her to know and understand that it is okay to be happy with who she is even if there’s a politician on a soapbox telling her no. Learning to self moderate and be sure in your ways takes time, takes trial and error and takes the will power to know and understand your limits and when it’s time to test them. Sometimes I can see Ava struggle with the conflict of separating individuality and testing authority, and I see myself.

Some of the habits she possess that drive me utterly insane are ones that I’ve struggled with, and maybe still do struggle to combat and regulate. More recently I’ve been getting told that Ava doesn’t apply herself, she’s lazy when it comes to school work and she does the bare minimum and then gets upset when she’s called on it, and in moments like that I have a flashback to my own parent teacher conferences where they told my mom the same things. My problem is though, that I don’t always know how to react or handle the issue because I immediately get frustrated with her mostly because I know these choices now lead to bigger and more detrimental choices as she gets older. I know that the bad habit of doing the minimum or not applying yourself can be the reason you get academically dismissed from your dream college, I also know it’s the reason it can take you nearly a decade to get a college degree, rather than four years.

I don’t want to see her let her bad habits be her pitfall while she’s chasing her dreams. I want her to break those habits now and not struggle and learn the hard way, like I stupidly chose to so many times in my own life. Perhaps life show’s us where we went wrong in our own children so we can raise them to do better, or maybe it’s a reality check for the things we still need to work on. Either way though, life has a funny way of making history repeat itself, often in our children.

Virtues from Motherhood: You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be

Have you ever caught your reflection in a passing car or store window? Have you ever gotten lost in thought and wondered how you got where you stand today and think back to those pivotal moments you’re sure changed the course of events in your life? Yeah, me too. It’s crazy to think how quickly we made those choices in the heat of the moment and how big they impacted our lives and I often wonder why I’ve ended up here, am I doing this right? I spent a lot of time micro managing what I did that I forgot to stop and breathe, stop and realize we are exactly where we’re supposed to be at this moment. Sometimes years later we can look back and see why a friendship ended or why we were laid off from a job, because those things ending made room in our lives for bigger and better things.

Too often human beings spend so much of their time banging on closed doors, or weeping outside of them, that they lose the ability to see the colors on the road ahead and life becomes gray. In that gray corridor we tend to lose ourselves in a flurry of “what ifs” and “why me’s” and as hard as it is to do, we have to shut those little voices of doubt down. It isn’t easy, in fact the hardest thing we as human beings have to do is learn to mourn the loss of someone who is still alive, without loosing ourselves in the process. We have to make peace with the fact that everyone we love may not be for us and in the ever revolving sphere that is life, people sometimes go and do not return, and that is okay. When you catch sight of yourself in a store window, instead of noticing what’s missing, I challenge you to notice what’s gained.

Instead of looking down, look up and count the good, instead of saying something has taken you too long to finish credit yourself for finishing at all. Everyone’s clock is different, your 25 is not the same as your moms, your siblings or your best friend’s and to compare and contrast the lives and progress of totally different human beings is counter productive. Count things on a scale that makes sense to your life, you cannot weigh grains of rice on a scale meant to weigh an elephant. Understand that time moves at a pace that is right for you and nobody can tell you that it’s taking you too long to reach a goal or heal a wound, it is your life and as long as you’re trying, you’re progressing.