Tag Archives: Family

Motivation Mondays: Evita on Broadway

About two weeks, I went to see Evita on Broadway. Growing up, I was lucky enough to attend shows and have grown to love seeing them live. But, this performance was different. My fabulous cousin Christina was playing the lead Eva Peron aka Evita. I was so excited I could barely sit still during work that day, anticipating nothing short of an amazing performance.

playbillI’ve seen Christina perform before on Broadway in Sister Act. I saw her in the Marvelous Wonderettes, an off-Broadway show as well as several of her performances at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. My favorite was watching her play Belle in Beauty and the Beast, my favorite Disney movie. She was also beyond awesome as Glinda in the National Tour of Wicked. The list of fabulous accomplishments goes on and on but the best role Christina plays is cousin.

While we haven’t grown up together since day one, Christina has been a part of my life since I was about ten. She grew up in Long Island and attended Wagner College in Staten Island, where my other fabulous cousin also went to school. She was and always will be one of us, which is why are stardom is even better. She is a living, breathing example of hard work paying off. She took her dreams and made them a reality. She is humble, always thanking her family and friends for their support. She is everything all of us can hope to be one day: successful and living out our dream.

Watching Christina light up the stage as Eva Peron was nothing short of magical. She was absolutely amazing and left me speechless. This is my cousin, who I goof around with at family parties. There she is, singing her heart out on Broadway and signing autographs for a huge crowd outside the theater. What a completely surreal experience.

As you can tell, I am super proud of my cousin, of all her hard work and of her ability to staychristina real and humble. I didn’t write this post today to brag (well, ok maybe a little), but to remind everyone that dreams do come true when you believe in them. Christina embodies that statement and proves that with passion, dedication and hard work, anything is possible. I am so proud of you Christina and cannot wait to see what’s next!

Motivation Mondays: The Magic of Christmas

Christmas has always been a big deal in my house. There are extraordinary amounts of food, a continuously flow of people and more noise than anything you’ve heard in your life. The presents were endless, piles bigger than me took over my living room. My brother and I would always argue about who got more presents. Looking back, it now seems silly that we thought the number of gifts we got mattered.

The older I get, the more I have realized the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about gifts or all the food we cook. It’s about being together with the people who matter most and passing down traditions. I’ve spent my morning listening to stories from my grandmother and cousin while cooking. Hearing those memories is priceless and something I hope to pass down to my kids one day.

Sometimes people’s definition of family changes as they grow older. It is normal for children to start their own families and traditions. Even with all of the things that have changed this year, the magic of Christmas takes over and I can’t feel anything but happy and blessed for the life I have. Everyone should take this time to shut off their computers and phones in order to really spend time with the ones they love.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is My Grown-Up Christmas List. It really depicts how I feel about Christmas this year. My wishes aren’t for presents but for happiness, no drama and the realization in everyone that life isn’t so bad. Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2013!

Introducing Family Fridays!

Anyone who knows me knows that my family (and friends) play a large role in my life. Collectively, they have molded me, challenged me and taught me invaluable life lessons. That’s why, from now on, each Friday will be dedicated to some story or lesson from the crazy bunch I call family.

For starters, you must realize how expansive my family is. I suppose the reason for that is I don’t consider just my blood relatives family. Of course they are my family, but I’m happy to say the title of family is extended to so many others who are in my life. You see, there is my mother’s family, my father’s family and my stepmother’s family as well as my best friends who have earned their spots within the crazy crew. For me, family isn’t defined by blood. It is defined by who consistently and happily shows up. Most of the time, that includes blood relatives but sometimes it doesn’t. I’m blessed and proud to say that in my world, my family grows and changes all the time.

Today is my grandmother’s 83rd birthday. Grandma Dee is the epitome of honesty. Gained a little weight? She’ll notice it. Accidentally burned dinner? She’ll let you know. The woman does not hold back and at 83, who would? It’s very easy for people to get offended by her honesty. Who really wants to be reminded that they gained weight?! But, I’ve learned to love her honesty. I go to her when I need a brutally honest opinion but prepare beforehand for the harsh truth. It is refreshing to have someone in my life who is upfront and does not sugarcoat things. Too often, people hold back and don’t share their true feelings at the risk of others being offended. While there is a time and place for bluntness, I’m glad Grandma holds nothing back and is straight with all of us. It takes some getting used to but she doesn’t mean any harm. I am so lucky to still have my grandparents are a constant part of my life especially my extremely honest grandmother!

Happy Birthday Grandma!!

Grandma Dee & Papa Buddy :)

Grandma Dee & Papa Buddy 🙂

Motivation Mondays: #TempleMade

This weekend, I headed back to Temple for homecoming. I was reunited with my best friends and got to watch our football team win its first Big East game since 2004. I’ve been back to campus a bunch of times since graduation, but this was different.

Recently, Temple unveiled a new campaign called #TempleMade. They held a giant celebration at the Bell Tower and created a video to showcase “Temple Made” students. As I watched this video play on the jumbotron at the football game, I thought about the reasons why I am “Temple Made.”

1. My perspective: Before I went to college, I was exposed to the same type of people with the same type of lifestyle. Going to Temple helped to widen my perspective and appreciate people from all walks of life. I’ve learned about different cultures, seen real life examples of inequality and watched people work through them. I had my mind opened up to so many new, amazing things thanks to Temple.

2. Humility: Temple has taught me to embrace the phrase “Be kind, for everyone is fighting their own battle.” I think part of being “Temple Made” is being empathetic and understanding that everyone struggles equally; no ones is more worse off then the next person.

3. The Ability to Think: Temple professors don’t just lecture, they teach you how to think and problem solve. They expose students to hands-on experiences that make us better students and ultimately better individuals.

4. Crisis Communication 101: At the start of my junior year, I became a Resident Assistant. I was responsible for 5o residents, designed educational programs for them and responded to various issues in the building. This job taught me how to be calm in a crisis and what exactly to say to people during them. It’s proven to be an invaluable skill. Plus, the ResLife crew is a bunch of awesome, inspiring people. They have become my mentors and friends during the last two years.

5. Family is Defined By Who Shows Up: I might have learned this before Temple but it was definitely solidified this past year. First off, Temple Owls are always willing to support one another and come together in times of need. Then there’s my family, a group of girls who consistently show up for me and take care of me when I forget to take care of myself. I am proud to say I’m still friends with my very first college friend, Trish. We met because she heard my extremely loud voice through the wall between our rooms. She has proven to be the most consistent part of my college career and one of the happiest people I know.

I’ve also found my real-life Christina Yang and together with our crazy cat lady, we formed Club Rockstar. Sorry, they are actually known as Lauren and Niki. Niki is my biggest fan, always there when I need to be cheered on. Lauren and I have a friendship that defines anything I’ve ever know. We are just on the same wavelength all the time and she understands me better than I do myself.

I was reminded this weekend that being “Temple Made” is something special. It means defying adversity, supporting fellow Owls and working hard to make dreams come true. All of this has motivated me to stop with my negative attitude and to keep moving forward. My time as an Owl was the best four years of my life with memories that will last a lifetime. I will be proud forever to be #TempleMade.

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