How’s that for Service?

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American society has molded individuals to believe having a certain job title or holding a certain position within a company determines a person’s educational or personal value. I’m 28 years old and I’ve had many different positions in many different industries. I’ve worked in a crucial position within a local pharmaceutical distribution, an advertising agency, and other jobs post college that have taught me an incredible amount of things but why? Yes, money is the answer, but not anymore. I’m going to continue to work at my dreams of  becoming a writer while I work as a waitress. Yes, a waitress. I’m sorry if that may not be what American culture adopts as a “good” job, but it’s what I do. I work as a waitress and occasional hostess at a local sushi bar in a cute area of Fort Mill, SC called Akahana Asia Bistro.  I love it. The food is amazing, my coworkers and managers are awesome to work with, and it’s cash in hand daily. I may not punch a time clock from 9-5 every day but I work, and I enjoy what I do.

I’ve heard people say that servers are uneducated. That is far from accurate. I have a college degree from a 4 year university. I choose to work as a waitress while I work on my dream of  becoming a self-made freelance writer. Many of my coworkers are working now towards their education. Others are working towards personal goals similar to myself in writing  whether it be music, painting, or management within the restaurant.  It’s not “uneducated” or “stupid” to work hard for something that you truely enjoy doing and you are good at. Too many people in America are working their asses off in “corporate” America just for the simple fact that that’s what society has brainwashed them into thinking that’s what they are suppose to be doing.

The point in this blog is to open your minds up to what you are capable of doing. Don’t conform to society do what you want and love doing in order to get to your dreams.

Stuck Like Chuck

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I live in the Carolinas for a reason—it’s WARM! I love summer, flip flops, and sundresses. Usually winters are cold but it is rare to it will will snow more than a few hours during the entire winter. Well I have been stuck in my apartment for the last 3 days due to winter storm, Pax. It snowed and snowed and snowed some more and in Charlotte when it snows it becomes a ghost town. Lucky for me Harris Teeter has been open and is just a couple of blocks away from my home. I never thought going to the grocery store would be my form of entertainment but it has been not only my life saver but also a way for me to safely get out of the house. Although I am stir crazy as heck and can’t wait to get back to work, I have creatively found ways to keep myself occupied.

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SNOW DAY IDEAS

1. GO OUTSIDE: Because it rarely does snow here in the south, people go nuts when it does. My dad lives in Colorado, I think the snow is beautiful if I am skiing but other than that, I’m content looking at the snowfall from the warmth of my home. If however you are one of the people who enjoys being outside in the snow–build a snowman, take a walk, grab an inter tube and find some hills to go down, or make a snow angel! Please just remember to dress appropriately–layer up, grab your boots, scarves, hats, and gloves.

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2. CLEAN: Yeah I know– not the most “fun” snow day idea but I used the last 3 days to deep clean my entire home. I did laundry, organized my closet, mopped, dusted, scrubbed the bathroom, did dishes, and more!

3. COOK: I have cooked much more than usual. To be frank it’s because everything is closed but none the less I have eaten some simply delicious warm meals the past couple of days.

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BUNLESS BURGER

These are extremely simple to make and taste AMAZING! I purchased the pre-pattied sweet onion cheddar burgers from Harris Teeter (you can use whatever type of hamburger meat you prefer).  I placed them on my George Foreman grill for about 20 mins flipping after 10 minutes (you can also cook in your oven or skillet–the choice is yours, I just prefer the grill). Then you can top with your favorite toppings! The one I made was topped with sautéed sweet onions, bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, avocado, and pickles. I mixed hot sauce and A1 as a sauce to dip it in! Don’t knock it til you try it!

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CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

All I did for this was get a prepackaged dry soup mix (Bear Creek Tortilla to be exact). I then added sautéed chicken, lime, hot sauce, sour cream and Fritos. It was a good winter meal and took less than 20 minutes to make.

4. RELAX: Watch a movie, have a glass of wine, have a spa night, take a nap. Do whatever you want to do that you may not have time to because of your busy schedule. I work nonstop so I made it a point to rest as much as possible.

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Well, the sunshine has finally come out so the white stuff is finally melting but if you are stuck, I hope this gives you some sort of idea of what could make it a little less painful!

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I’m a Tar Heel Born and a Tar Heel Bread

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The University of North Carolina is located in Chapel Hill. Duke University is located in Durham. The two universities are located around 10 miles away from each other.

ImageLiving in North Carolina, you have two options…be a North Carolina Tar Heel or a Duke basketball fan. Me personally, I am a UNC fan. My mother attend the university and I remember as a child our family constantly watching the games. My brother went to the same high school as Michael Jordan–a basketball legend who attended The University of North Carolina. My father, brother, cousin and I went to the 2009 tournament and saw Danny Green and Tyler Hansbrough play. It was a lot of fun. I enjoy a good basketball game.

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Being a Tar Heel fan, today I am especially excited for tonight. It’s the Carolina-Duke mens basketball game.  Usually I entertain or go out to watch the game but tonight there is a winter storm so I am having a low key night. I plan to cook some homemade french fries  (CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2011/07/26/easy-homemade-french-fries/) and hamburgers while I watch the game tonight.

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What App Is That?

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In today’s tech savvy world, it is very common to see people constantly connected to their tablets, phones, and other electronic devices. It’s almost silly to think how reliant we can be of technology. You can have a business meeting through and iPhone. Crazy right?! I have an iphone and without it I’d be lost. I thought I would share some of my favorite apps!

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Avyn’s  Top 5 iphone Apps

1. Pandora Radio: I love music. Pandora is a free app which allows users to create stations according to their  favorite artists, bands, or types of music. The station will then play songs related to the station created.

2. Instagram: Instagram is a nice app because you can stay connected with friends, family, athletes, entertainers, etc., via photos. It’s nice sometimes not to have to read a status about how someone is doing, instead it is captured by a simple photo and a short caption.

3. Pintrest: Everything imaginable is on this app. Whether you are looking for a good recipe or a craft to do with your family, Pintrest is the spot. I personally love to look up inexpensive crafts to make decor for my home or to gift.

4. WordPress: As you may have guessed, I enjoy writing! The WordPress app allows me to constantly have access to my blog as well as follow blogs I enjoy reading.

5. Snapchat: I find myself using the Snapchat more and more lately. Snapchat allows users to take pictures and videos, caption them and send them to friends. There is however a time frame of how long the person receiving the Snapchat can have access to the photo or video. I love getting random Snapchats from people because usually the photos are funny pictures of my family and  friends making silly faces with hilarious captions.

We’re All the Same Color When You Turn Off the Lights

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“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” Martin Luther King Jr. Today is MLK day. He was a true leader and inspiration in ending racism.
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I have never  thought about not talking to someone because of the way they look. I don’t understand how some people are so quick to judge others by the color of their skin.  I  grew up in a semi small town in South Carolina called Rock Hill. I graduated  high school in 2003. I remember catching hell from African American women because some of my friends were African American men. Never once met me, simply didn’t like the fact that I was friends with these guys.

I look back and laugh. If you are that insecure that you can not accept the fact that two people from different backgrounds are friends, it’s not worth me entertaining. I have always hung out with people from different backgrounds. I have friends who are white, black, Puerto Rican, mixed races, Dutch, Vietnamese, Korean, gay, lesbian, straight, parents, goody toe shoes, thugs,  college kids, and the list could go on and on. My point is don’t get too consumed in how different a person may be than you. Take a second to seriously get to know someone first. Use your own judgement to decide if an individual is worthy of your friendship.

Fast Forward to 2014. I moved to Charlotte NC about 4 years ago. It’s only 20 miles north of Rock Hill but I absolutely love it here. I can jump on the highway to visit friends and family yet I’m far enough away to run into a familiar face every time I go to the grocery store. You can go out and watch a game or grab a bite to eat and see friends in groups of all several races together. You see interracial couples having a drink at the bar. You see employees of all different skin tones smiling and laughing together.

Although I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a bigger city or if racism is slowly fading, it warms my heart to see that people are branching out and getting know each other. I think it is important for parents to also guide their children and help them understand it is ok to look different than your friends.

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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