New Publication: Skirt Collective

SC-icon-5I’m thrilled to have my first essay published on Skirt Collective!  Per their website ‘Skirt Collective aims to be the modern woman’s compass for navigating culture, fashion, and the real world. Nestled between street smarts and book smarts, SC connects readers with practical information and opinions from a diverse array of voices in an honest, virtual space.’

You can read my latest article on their website. 

Hopefully this will be the first of many pieces that will be shared on their website! Make sure to follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.

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The Weekend I Spent Analyzing My Life Because of the Internet

 images (1)This weekend has been quite different than what I had planed. The majority of my waking hours was spent on Saturday feeling conflicted. Part of me was feeling ecstatic that a piece I had written was on the front of a wildly, successful online magazine. Writing for xoJane had been a writing goal for so long, and contributing over the past 9 months has been incredible.

My goal has as always been to connect with others through my writing- so someone out there going through similar situations won’t feel so alone. As a writer, the fact that the comments have continued to pour in (last time I check it was at 502) is also an incredible win. People are reading, clicking, and sharing my story. Someone other than my grandmother is taking the time to read and talk about what I have to say. 

The other part of me is mentally wrestling with myself. I would say 85-90% of the comments have been uplifting and full of constructive criticism. I have gotten AMAZING online dating advice and can’t wait to try it out. It was the advice I was looking for from readers. There have also been lovely emails sent to me from readers saying their experiencing the same thing, or have in the past. Again- it was a goal of the article to strike a chord with women facing similar struggles. Continue reading

I asked for Online Dating help- and XOJANE Comments Exploded

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.12.51 AMWriting my online reject article for xoJane was a shot in the dark- it was a personal experience that I thought a few people would be interested in, or maybe relate to. When it was published yesterday afternoon- all comment hell broke loose. I’m not going to lie- I spent Friday night pouring through the array of feedback in the comments section. Many uplifiting, and full of valid advice. Others made me want to drink tequila and cry into the fur of my mentioned (and must discussed) ‘highly intelligent cat’. 

I woke up to this—all this in less than 20 hours. Continue reading

Back to Basics

 

For the first time since early in my college career, I’m making a commitment to growing in my own voice. Somehow between earning a college degree, writing for publications, and entering the full-time workforce, my ability and craving to pen personal narratives fizzled.

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The Ultimate Miracle on 34th Street Will Live On

As seen on Huffington Post, published on 05/06/2014

*Disclaimer:For those of you who responded to kindly to my initial article “Miracle on 34th Street’ chronicling Weston Keeton’s transplant surgery in December 2013, thank you from the bottom of my heart. The article opened many people to the topic of organ donation.

IMG_4844How did a 31 year-old Tennessee woman, who is mother of seven children — one critically ill –become best friends with a single, 24 year-old from Philadelphia? Two years later, I’m still trying to sort that out myself. I honestly believe fate introduced me to Julie. We were two people going their own personal battles, and trying to find some normalcy in life.

While working as a multimedia liaison at an organ procurement center, in spring 2012, I filmed a lot of sad stories. People sat down in front of my camera and shared their struggles during their wait for an organ transplant. My heart broke for many of these families, but when it came time to film the saddest story of them all, I ended the interview laughing.

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How I’m Surviving In Survival Mode During a Severe Depression Relapse

420df4dbf230b2969cc405eb8ecb380eOver the past several months, it had been easy justifying why I had been tired, a bit anti-social and melancholy. A hectic work schedule, feeling run down, and family obligations were my staple cop-outs to give to myself or anyone else who questioned my actions. The truth was that my insecurities were creeping back into my daily life again, this time with a vengeance through changes in my personal and professional life.
 
I started a new job after an unpleasant exit from my former place of employment. I was immediately thrown into the busy season in a matter of weeks. Doubts about my career choices stemming from the previous employment mishap were still raw as I grappled with learning the ropes of a fast-paced workplace in a new industry. As much as my new colleagues were assuring me that I was a fantastic addition to the team, my perfectionist personality constantly critiqued my learning curve. 

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The Real Life Miracle on 34th Street

As seen on Huffington post, published on 12/18/2013

2013-12-18-patricebendigUntitledWe’ve all heard of the Miracle of 34th Street, and will probably see it at some point this month. We watch the film to rekindle that feeling of awe and that belief in miracles each of us experienced at Christmas at some point in our lives, before life jaded us. As much as we watch movies about Christmas miracles each holiday, few actually experience one. This past week, in the early hours of December 12. 2013, I witnessed a true Christmas miracle come true for a seven-year-old little boy — right on 34th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For almost three years now, Weston Keeton has called the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia home. Fighting heart disease and pulmonary hypertension for most of his life, his body was wearing out. During his treatment, the Keeton family has been separated in ways that no family should ever be. His father Adam remains in Tennessee to continue working while his mother Julie has made Philadelphia her home away from home with her six other children, ranging between the ages of eight and almost two. Continue reading

Moving on From Being Dark and Twisty

Originally seen on Huffington Post, Published on 06/20/2012

GAtumblr_mu0fxzuM701rjj1tzo3_500During a recent conversation with a boy I’m seeing, we were discussing hair colors we previously rocked in our younger years. I made a passing comment that my jet black hair was during my “dark and twisty” phase. Taken right out of the playbook of Meredith Grey, those words resonated with me more than anything during that period.

My dark and twisty period did not occur during my teenage years, when most people go through their “punk rock” or “goth” phase. To me, those phases aren’t really dark and twisty. The only true dark thing about that is the black nail polish and wardrobe bought at Hot Topic. My self-proclaimed “dark and twisty” years took place during college. Except for the period of jet black hair, from the outside I looked the complete opposite of dark or twisted. I held a full roster on the dean’s list, interned at major companies and wrote for my school paper. By surrounding myself with a stellar exterior, it deflected any attention of how rapidly my interior was deteriorating. Continue reading

My Tribute to My Grandfather Is My Writing, Which Was His Gift to Me

Originally seen on Huffington Post. Published 05/10/2012

1528464_10154060284585063_8283555084608657545_nMy grandfather would have been 83 years old today. If he were alive right now, I would probably be putting the final touches on his birthday cake and trying to rush around to find the last-minute perfect gift. Most likely, it would have been something for his kitchen, since 90 percent of my memories with him revolved around the kitchen table. Me gobbling up his pancakes or tomato salad as he told me stories of growing up in upstate Pennsylvania. Or how when I would turn down a piece a fruit after breakfast, he would remind me that when he was growing up, fruit was a treat. He would only receive an orange in his stocking at Christmas, so I should be so lucky to be able to have one each day!

I never did find out of that story was true (in fact, most of his stories were exaggerated), but that doesn’t matter now.

Instead of stressing about last-minute present preparation like I do for most loved one’s birthdays (I take card shopping very seriously. I’m the woman that spends a good half hour reading cards till I find one that makes me cry), I’m reflecting on his life and his continuous influence on it. Continue reading

Bullying is Much More Than Child’s Play

Originally seen on Huffington Post. Published 11/20/2010

images (2)Bullying may seem like child’s play to some adults or as just one of those areas that everyone goes through. With the recent outburst of cyberbullying, and teenage suicide deaths around the country, it is about time that people understand bullying is not just a kid thing; it’s a serious issue that can affect a person’s entire life. The act of bullying is based on the harsh words and actions against another person, for simply being in existence. The psychological impact of being ridiculed for just being ones self is devastating, especially to the development child, or young adult’s psyche.

Young people across the country are afraid to get an education because they are terrified of what flaw a classmate is going to pick apart on them today. Instead of learning about American history, or nurturing their passion in creative writing, victims are sitting in their desks, waiting for an ambush. Praying that they can survive till 3:00 p.m. without being noticed by anyone, that is how the victims of bullying spend their school day, 180 days a year. Continue reading