Category Archives: Family

Hip Hop Soldier

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Music is one of those things that can change us. When we are sad it can lift us up, when we are happy it can literally move us. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy music. There is a genre for just about everyone. My music taste is pretty unlimited. From country to hip hop from reggae to pop, I can sing along to just about anything.

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Today I want to take a deeper look into the world of hip-hop. Some people listen to hip-hop for the beat others for the lyrics. When speaking of hip-hop on a lyrical side of things one specific artist comes to mind, Rasheed Iman.

I met the Carolina native several years ago and instantly new something was different about him. Unlike some mainstream artists, Rasheed Iman is that he isn’t trying to put on a “show” by conforming to the sounds and stories that may conform to what is popular. When I sat down and spoke to the army soldier I asked him what his purpose was and his answer was simple, “I want to tell my story in hopes that it impacts others the way artists such as Nas, J. Cole, and others have impacted me.”

 

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His album T.R.U.T.H—The Real Understand The Hustle focuses on his transformation from guy off the streets to becoming not only a man but also a father. The hip-hop artist prides himself on his song Straight Up because it addresses the responsibility he feels he has a man.  “I could’ve easily focused on the negative parts of my life for entertainment purposes but instead when I do touch on it, it’s with the hope that whom ever is going or gone threw the same doesn’t feel alone,” he explained.

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Constantly writing and collaborating with other local talent, Rasheed released his mix tape  April 6th, which is his daughter’s birthday because he says she is his purpose and the reason he does what he does.  Each song he writes is a personal truth and digs into the everyday struggles that come along with relationships, being a man, and family.

You can download his songs completely free on iTunes, Rasheediman.com, as well as

http://www.reverbnation.com/rasheediman and I would do it sooner than later because he is a very talented guy.

Little Lessons in Life

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You are naive if you believe life is going to be perfect all the time. Sometimes life throws curve balls and we have to learn how to hit a home run instead of strike out. I have recently experienced some intense situations in my life. Some I dealt with fairly easily, whileothers have taken me much longer to understand. In the past few years, I have had to learn to remove the negative energy and excuses for why things may be tough and revert it into positive energy and life lessons.

Little Life Lessons

1.  LOVE your family and friends. Don’t just tell them, show them. Take the 2 hour trip to visit your boring grandmother, or call your mom and listen to how tough her day was at work. The people you call family and friends are there for you, so show them how special they are to you. Our days are numbered, and I, personally want my parents, siblings, nieces, friends, etc. to know how important they are to me. We are all busy, but even if you take 10 minutes out of your day to call up someone in your family you haven’t spoken to in a while, or a friend you went to school with, just to see how they are doing and let them know how important they are to you can truly make a person’s day. I know this because, it makes my day when the phone rings and I hear my sweet nieces, or silly sister’s voice on the other end.

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2. Don’t let RELATIONSHIPS consume you. I feel as if some people get too comfortable in relationships. I’m not knocking the idea of love but be sure to be able to love yourself prior to loving another person. If you are honest with yourself and aren’t happy some times as hard as it may be, you have to end the relationship for not only you but also the other person. I recently ended a pretty lengthy relationship due to the fact that I felt as if it consumed me and hindered my future progress as an individual. There was no “cheating”,  I didn’t “hate” him, and there was no major fight to end things. I simply felt my heart wasn’t in it nor was it fair to keep someone in my life because I was “comfortable”. It’s ok sometimes to be uncomfortable for a moment to get your focus where it needs to be. I believe one of the main reasons it has been a mental challenge for him to move on is because he felt as if I was his life. He was an amazing person who no doubt loved me dearly but when things ended, it was difficult for him to stand on his own two feet which in turn made it more difficult for him to move forward.

3. Learn to be INDEPENDENT. I have been pretty blessed to have both a  supportive and encouraging family. My parents have taught me the importance of valuing what you have and hard work. These lessons have molded me into being an independent person. I like being on my own and not asking approval before doing what I want to do. I’m an adult who works hard therefore everything I have done and things I’ve experienced are because I worked for them. I take care of myself and my dog and at the end of the day that’s all I am responsible for. Of course I have had financial set backs, but luckily I have a great support system who will help me get back on track when I may struggle, but I find it important for people to be able to do things for themselves. I think some people may fear being uncomfortable and never learn to do things for themselves.

4. Be MINDFUL of who you let in. Certain people, for example, your family and friends, of course you are going to talk to  about certain things going on in your life, but not everyone you meet needs to know about your personal issues. Some people talk too much while others don’t talk enough. I am very out going and hang out with a lot of people but at the same time, I don’t let certain people I hang out with know too much about me. It’s not that I am being mean or sneaky, it’s because I have learned that people have to earn the right to get to know me. I have let a lot of people in, especially in my early 20s that I should have never talked to or considered a friend. It happens. Some people change while others were never true.  Humans, not all but some, are jealous creatures. Some people hate to see other people doing well, but that shouldn’t stop you from allowing those who do want you to succeed be a part of your experiences.

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5. Be APPRECIATIVE. No matter how tough something is don’t forget to appreciate all of the good in your life. Whether it be the sun shining  on a summer day or a  job promotion, never forget how lucky you are to have what you have!

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That’s SO 2013

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It’s hard to believe it is 2014. The saying must be true because time really does fly when you are having fun. Although a year has past, 2013 brought a lifetime of memories.

JANUARY 2013- Me and Lgeezy

2013 started out for me with the rekindling of a friendship I once thought was beyond repair. Lauren and I are both very opinionated and my stubbornness hindered our friendship for a while and ever since we had a pretty intense talk sometime in January we have been closer than ever. We are always each other’s comical relief as well as ear to listen threw hardships. She and I often joke about how happy we are that we are friends and the truth is, I don’t think either one of us would have it any other way.

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Lauren and I at my house for Superbowl 2013

FEBRUARY 2013- I couldn’t think of one big moment so I put two for September, because it was a pretty great month!

MARCH 2013- Trippin’

In March my 8 year old niece,Darby, wanted to go visit some of our family in Colorado so I did what any aunt would do, went with her. She is so patient for a kid. She was an amazing passenger and we enjoyed watching the snowfall as we made crafts by the fire. She loved the snow and knew exactly where she wanted to eat while in Colorado Springs, CO. It’s almost bittersweet to watch her grow up.

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Well, Aunt Avyn had a big girl job so, I had to leave that Sunday and get back to work but Delta had other plans. I was stuck in an airport for 2 days straight. I spent one night in a hotel in Colorado Springs and another in Atlanta. Most people would have been miserable but lucky for me, I met some pretty kick ass people and we clicked instantly. We did everything together for those two days and even nicknamed ourselves the Delta Force. It was actually pretty amazing because to this day I talk to 2 of the ladies I met.

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ImageDelta Force stuck in hotel #1

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APRIL 2013- Wilmington Bound

Quentin turned 30 this March and because I was in Colorado, I took him on a trip to Wilmington NC, in April. He is from Charleston SC, loves seafood, and had never been so we went down for a night and enjoyed some fresh seafood, a rooftop bar, and a beautiful condo overlooking the waterway. Although we didn’t get to take the sunset cruise I had planned because it was so cold outside, we still had an amazing trip and look forward to going again.

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MAY 2013- Claybo party of 2

This year my friend of many years Jennifer Allen became Jennifer Claybo. That’s right, she got married to her best friend Jon Claybo! The two are a walking definition of marrying your best friend. They adore each other so much and I am so glad I got to witness them tie the knot. Everything was beautiful and I continue to wish them both a lifetime of happiness.

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June- 28 Years of Greatness

One of my best friends, Beth, turned 28. My friend Casey and I hopped in the car and headed to Columbia, SC to celebrate 28 years of fabulousness with Beth. We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant where we actually sat on the floor. It was a feast of sushi, sake, and silliness. After dinner we had a pajama party with Beth and her roommates. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

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Beth- the birthday girl

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JULY 2013- America’s Most Wanted Tour

I try to go to at least one concert a year so this year I got a Groupon to the TI, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chains concert, told my friends about it and we all went. A few of us pregammed at my house then met everyone there and had a blast. Dancing on a summer night is one of the best feelings in the world.

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AUGUST 2013- Playin’ By the Pool with Pipes

My friend Piper and I both got laid off from our full time jobs and instead of moping around about it, we did what we could, looked for jobs, and most importantly had fun! If we didn’t see each other at least twice a week, something was seriously wrong. We took our dogs on walks, relaxed at each other’s houses, but my favorite times were pool times. We joked about how we “worked from home and we had business meetings”–leaving out the minor detail that we were unemployed and went to the pool weekly. It sucked getting laid off but we are both getting back on our feet finally, but I must admit it this summer was one of the best ones because of her.

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SEPTEMBER 2013- He liked it so he went and put a ring on it

Sunday September 15, 2013 my lifetime friend Casey was no longer  in a relationship with her boyfriend Jesse, she was now his fiancé. With country music playing, they sat in the back of his pick-up truck.  They were drinking wine in front of a bonfire when he got down one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. I am so excited to be apart of their wedding and can’t wait to see Casey as a bride! She will be gorgeous, I just know it!

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Here’s the ring!!!

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Jesse and Casey

SEPTEMBER 2013- She’s 1

This September my baby niece Remy Vera turned one! Decked out in a tutu and Chuck Taylors, she was the guest of honor at her cookies and milk themed birthday party. My sister in law is so creative she had a cookie decorating station set up for the children, a milk bar, and guest left with a mason jar packed to the top with ingredients to make their own cookies at home. I love my family and seeing Remy become a year old, walking and talking has been an amazing experience.

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OCTOBER 2013- Glammed Up Pumpkins

This year instead of carving pumpkins, some friends and I headed to Piper’s house and glammed up some pumpkin. Piper supplied glitter, glue, sequins and more and we decorated our pumpkins. I think they turned out adorable and it was much cleaner than sticking your hand in a slimy pumpkin.

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NOVEMBER 2013- Thankful for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving my family and I enjoyed a delicious meal at my parent’s house. It was laid back but we were surrounded by love and each other.

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This is some of our feast

DECEMBER 2013- It’s Christmas time in the city

Hands down, Christmas was the best way to end the year. From celebrating with my friends at our annual holiday party to watching my niece open her iPad, Christmas was amazing. Anytime I am with family and friends, I am content. They are the reason I get up each day and aim for greatness. Below are some pictures from my holiday celebrations.

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My Charlie Brown tree

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10th Annual Peacock Christmas Party

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My amazing mother

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Handmade crafts from my niece

Adoption is an Option

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Yesterday I was reading an online article about adoption in my local hometown paper. I was truly touched  when I read 18 children and 1 adult were in the final stages of the adoption process and would soon to be in the lives of 14 local families. All I could imagine was the feeling of being complete as both a parent and child connecting as a unit.

As an infant I was adopted by my family in Wilmington, NC. I don’t have a sad story of how awful my childhood was. I wasn’t in a foster home or abused.  My birth parents for whatever reason it may be knew that they were not meant to parent me and instead of taking on a challenge they were not prepared for, gave the opportunity to a family who could. I do not know my birth parents, nor do I have any desire to because I know the family I am a part of is exactly the family I deserved and needed growing up.  I can not imagine my life with different parents and siblings. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

There are many people who have strong beliefs of why they do not necessarily support adoption and although I may not quite understand their hesitations, I respect their opinion and insight. I do however feel as if innocent children who have no voice yet, deserve to be taken care of as best as possible.

Each adoption story is different but I feel as if awareness of adoption needs to be spread and more people need to inform themselves on how adoption can benefit so many people.

Here is a link for more information on adoption awareness in the US : http://www.nationaladoptionday.org 

Gobble Gobble!

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I feel like I blinked my eyes and it was November. Decked out in my leggings and fall purse, Thursday,  I headed down to my parents house to enjoy a day of family and friends.

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It has been quite sometime since I had Thanksgiving there. Usually my brother and I spend time with our father from Colorado but this year we were all with mom. I brought Quentin, my boyfriend, and my brother brought his girls. My aunt, and uncle who has had a pretty rough medical battle this year, and a few of our family friends and parents filled my childhood home. It was such an amazing time. It is really special when you get to spend the day with those who mean the most to you. With everyone having such different schedules, these times are hard to come by.

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I have never brought anything to thanksgiving because I have never really enjoyed the kitchen, but this year I felt it was time to contribute. I made macaroni and cheese, and not to toot my own horn–but it was good! Simple, yet delicious, I have included the recipe below

Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe- done!

Ingredients

6 cups of grated cheddar cheese

4 cups of noodles (I used small shells but you can use elbow macaroni)

2 cups of milk

Optional salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. Boil the noodles until soft (about 6-8 mins–just check because you don’t want to overcook them). Use a colander
to drain the noodles. Run cool water over them  as they drain (it helps keep the noodles from sticking). Then in a nonstick Pyrex or buttered metal pan evenly alternate layers starting with noodles on the bottom then cheese, salt and pepper to taste if preferred. Repeat until the pan is full. Top with a generous amount of cheese. Pour the milk evenly over the whole dish, then bake for 25 mins. Then enjoy!!

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Let’s be honest here–no Thanksgiving is complete without a kitchen blunder or two. For example, my pumpkin bars may have been in the oven a little too long and left behind at my house on purpose and mom may have been freaking out because the turkey wasn’t cooking as quickly as she had hoped. Comical now; we have more memories for the books! Although sometimes it is easy to get consumed in our own stresses, I am thankful for the day noted as Thanksgiving. Each year is another moment to share a nice meal with those who have help mold me into who I am becoming.

Growing Up and Bucket Lists

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This Saturday is my 28th birthday! For me, the past 8 years have taught me a lot. I have changed from a young carless  party girl to a caring professional  young woman. I feel like the 20s  have molded me into the person I truly am.  Although, I am proud of who I’ve evolved into, there are still a couple things that I’d like to do while I’m still in my 20s.

20 Things to Do While I’m Still in My 20s

  1. PRAY more.
  2. Land a CAREER that allows me to live comfortably.
  3. READ more books.
  4. Be more ACTIVE.
  5. Spend more time with my FAMILY.
  6. Get out of DEBT.
  7. TRAVEL more.
  8. Watch less TV. 
  9. CUSS less.
  10. INVEST.
  11. MOVE into a house with a back yard.
  12. COOK new recipes.
  13. Get another PUPPY.
  14. Get PUBLISHED.
  15. Expand my MARY KAY business.
  16. COMMUNICATE better when upset.
  17. Become more CRAFTY. 
  18. DONATE to cause I’m passionate about.
  19. Become more PATIENT.  
  20. SKYDIVE. 

Picture Perfect

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So, I have an obsession with pictures! I love taking them, I love being in them, I love looking at them.

I thought it would be cool to give you a little look into my life via photos!

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This is me! The one and only Avyn Karen Rhodes! Heyyyyy (in my sweet southern drawl)

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I live in the beautiful city of Charlotte, North Carolina with my sweet boyfriend and our silly puppy!

 

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My family is absolutely amazing!

ImageI have an older brother and two sweet nieces who live in Asheville, NC.  Our younger sister is a student at Rollins College in Florida. We all get closer the older we get. He is the typical big brother–the one who gives you advice and she’s the little sister who you have fun with!

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I spend a lot of time with my friends.

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I enjoy writing, spending time by the water (pool, beach, lake—it doesn’t matter), and selling Mary Kay!

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Whelp, that’s pretty much me 🙂  I am a happy person and I try to surround myself with good people. I do what makes me happy and have learned that’s the way to live a happy life.

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