Book Journey through 2015

I’m very happy to say that in 2015 I’ve been successfully starting books and finishing them. Back around 3 years ago when I first decided to go back to school, I wanted earnestly to keep  my book reading hobby. I found out that wish wasn’t in the stars after my first semester of an accelerated pre-req program in Speech Language Pathology. I could barely keep my room clean, let alone be distracted enough to start and keep reading non-assigned material. I’ve been done with school now for 15 months. Finally got my swagger back. 🙂

Here’s my list of 2015 including my rating scale and comments as necessary.


  1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson- 4/5 stars (via Audible). Non-fiction book about an African-American attorney who defends the indigent children and adults who’ve been damned to death row. Highly recommended.
  2. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer- 2.5/5 stars (via Audible). I was trying something new with this book (sci-fi), an assignment from the Twitter book club (Ninjas Be Reading BC). It’s a new-age Cinderella story about a girl who’s half cyborg and half human. The premise drew me in, but after about Chapter 12 I just got bored. The action was too slow and I wasn’t invested in the characters anymore. I don’t know how I survived the 26 chapters that followed, but I live to write about it
  3. 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter- 3/5 stars (via Audible). This fiction book came recommended by a friend. It is the recount of a young woman’s life through her eyes. Her early childhood stories really drew me in, however somewhere in her young-adult retelling, things became too hard to believe. I had a hard time finishing the book, and the ending didn’t redeem itself.
  4. South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami- 3/5 stars (via Audible). Yet another recommendation from a friend, who boasts this is his favorite author. It’s hard to describe what exactly this book is about. There is a protagonist, a man…there is an internal struggle he has about his life. I could connect with many thoughts, much of the angst, and I felt the “realness” of the character. I wished there was more complexity to some of the other characters, but overall I thought it was a solid book. Murakami is claimed to be the master of metaphors and realism. I would recommend looking into his repertoire.


  • The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman (Audible) I’m all those things and I’m trying to get my money right. Not trying, getting it.
  • All About Love (New Visions) by bell hooks. This book has been like the Bible to me this year; hard to get through because I have to stop and process what I’ve read. I have “Amen” moments after every 2 pages and I read the book equipped with a pen or highlighter. Working it chunk by chunk.
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (iBooks). This book came recommended by one of the hosts of Books on the Nightstand, one of the podcasts I occasionally listen to. It came with the promise that my life would be changed when I finished, so I’ll keep you updated when I finish reading.
  • Getting Rid of It by Betsey & Warren Talbot (Audible). I purchased this on a sale and it has pushed me to de-clutter my paperwork and even consider downsizing my books. It is the “To-Do” project for the month and I’ve been taking baby steps (more like crawling, actually). I like this book because it’s a straight-forward read and they give you homework at the end (i.e., “weekend projects” and the like). If you want to learn how to make your space more enjoyable, if you’re on the verge of a move and don’t want to lug stuff to your next place, this is a great investment.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- I think I’m about halfway through this book. I pick it up every now and again and admire the art on the cover, just not pressed to finish it.

Shout-out to Audible for helping me get through books this year! I realized I was spending so much time traveling between sites (at least 45 minutes) and getting 45 minutes of “listening” time 3-4 times a week adds up! Reading A Little Life on my iPad is probably the hardest thing to do, and I mostly pick that book up when I travel. I’m okay with that; having a “travel on a plane book, while I’m in the car book, and bedside book.” I didn’t have a goal this year for a magic number of books to read, but I would definitely like to add at least 2 more fiction titles to the list. I’m also becoming more adventurous and trying to read titles/authors I normally wouldn’t. That is truly one of the joys of book clubs, something that I miss dearly.

For the book readers, how do you stay connected to book communities? Do you have the need to read with others or what others are reading?


Book Journey through 2015

Tica Americana: My New American Passport

On July 8, 2014, days before my 29th birthday, I completed the last milestone on my immigration journey. At a D.C. courthouse at 8 in the morning, I was sworn in during a Naturalization Oath Ceremony. I handed over my “green card” to the officials, and received a Naturalization certificate, denoting that I am now officially an American (foreign born.) Applying for my passport was next on the To Do list. However, I had no international trips on the horizon until I booked my travel ticket to Jamaica (29 days from now, and counting!) I applied for my passport expedited delivery on April 24th and I received my passport less than 2 weeks later on May 4th.

How to Apply for a U.S. Passport- if you never had one before

1. Get your documentation in order. I needed a license, my original Naturalization Certificate, my check which included the expedited amount ($184), and the application which can be downloaded online. If you’re not sure about something on the application leave it blank and the post office worker can help you.

2. I made an appointment with the local post office to file my application. Most post offices don’t talk walk-in’s. The whole “application” process took about 30 minutes, which included me being sworn that everything on the application was truf, handing over my Certificate and monies. The Naturalization Certificate must be the original and it will be mailed back to me in a couple of weeks.

That’s it! When I got the expedited envelope in the mail I was surprised at the quick turn-around time.

FullSizeRender (5)

Here were some thoughts when I first opened the envelope:

“This is it! The American Dream!”

“My hair cute!”

“My forehead shiny!”

2025- I got 10 years to fill this sucka up! Let’s bring it on..”

“OMG…I’m gonna be 40 in 10 years!”

Next stop: Montego Bay, Jamaica.

What about you, lovely reader? Where are you going, or want to be going in 2015?

Tica Americana: My New American Passport

2015 Came In: What’s Rockin’ My World


It’s really hard to say how I feel about the beginning of 2015. It’s only 20 days in and its come in like a storm. I’m learning how to cope with some of the news, and some days are good while others I don’t care much for getting out of bed. I’m still a part of the group psychotherapy however I’m starting to feel like I would benefit from individual therapy for a couple of months. I’ve even considered being evaluated for anti-depressants. The group has started to feel very crowded (there’s a total of 8 members) and although all 8 don’t come for every session, I always feel like my quiet demeanor gets lost and I don’t feel like competing for the “floor” right now.

I’m not in crisis mode. This year won’t get the best of me. I plan to make vacations a priority, even if it’s a small get-away every other month. Also, I will be 30 this year. I really don’t know where my 20’s went. However, I plan to bring in this birthday doing something DIFFERENT. No party. No exhausting birthday dinner where the check comes and everyone is calculating how much they owe down to the last penny. Just me doing something I love with those I love. Das it.

In no particular order, here’s what’s rocking my world:

  • The “documentary” Light Girls premiered on #OWN last night. I hadn’t watched the sister show “Dark Girls” but I was very much interested and curious on what the conversation would be about. Black Twitter, of course, had a ball going in deciding on what women on the show could be considered “Light” and which ones were actually “Medium.” I’m not here for that conversation. I really did want to hear the narratives and what topics would be uncovered. Here are just some tweets from last night:

Most people seemed furious over the show. I do admit, with good reason. The documentary seemed all over the place and not well-organized. Mostly, they had so many random “speakers” from comedians to celebrities to random doctors and I just couldn’t follow. I think they tried to “touch on” too many subtopics that they didn’t master honing in on one topic and expounding on that. I’m not sure if you watched or what you thought, but feel free to share.

  • I am more than halfway through my Clinical Fellowship. Hallelujah. I’ll be certified this year!
  • I didn’t get to take the mother-daughter trip I wanted to in December like I wanted to. I planned it too late. However, we are heading to Jamaica in April and I’m uber excited about it! I’ve decided on Montego Bay!
  • I know what my book is going to be about! Just have to get on a schedule to start and work through it!
  • I start re-paying my student loans next month. I know this is a big step for me. Budgeting has to be a priority now.
  • I cannot wait for Spring! This winter hasn’t been too brutal so I just hope it stays that way!
  • I haven’t seen Selma but I heard amazing things about it. I’ll think about going to see it.

What’s Rocking Your World this Month?

Do Share,


2015 Came In: What’s Rockin’ My World

It Gets Real in Mont Real

Enter, if you dare...

The picture above is just one of the very charming places we visited during our too-short weekend in Montreal, Canada or Mont Real as I now affectionately call it.

This post is a little overdue, not because Montreal is not worth writing about, but because I’ve been so overwhelmed with my mid-semester responsibilities. But, here we are, another place to add to the list and that I will definitely return to!

Mont Real, is a nice {re}treat if you enjoy culture, food, nightlife, sightseeing and French culture. According to WikiTravel, Montreal is unique in that its maintained its Francophone culture; it’s the second-largest city (behind Paris) that has French as it’s official language. That means that most people function in French both at work and at home, and living one hour away from this great city it took me a little while to feel like I was really in another country since I didn’t have to travel long on a plane to be surrounded by all the sexy-sounding words coming out of people’s mouths.

Don’t be dismayed if French is not your forte, most people any way involved in the tourism business (hotels, restaurants, shops) have bilingual staff, and for that we were grateful. Also, according to Wikipedia 56% of the population is able to speak both English and French. It was still nice to practice the little French I was responsible for in HS (which is none, because I cheated and took Spanish as my foreign language). I did carry a trusty little phrase book that taught me a new favorite request, L’addition, s’il vous plaît, (the bill please) and by the time we left I was saying this to anyone and anybody who would listen.

We ventured up North during an unexpected heat wave that hit the first week in October, and what a beautiful way to be greeted! Mont Real is a multi-lingual, hip, bright city full of natives, immigrants, and transplants. It was nice seeing a population that reminded me very much of the blends in New York City. The Metro system was easy to navigate, although not 24 hours like the Big Apple (NYC).

What We ATE

  • French Cuisine at Les Deux Gamins 
  • Dessert: Ice cream on Prince Arthur East

  • Thai Food at Thai Grill Mile-End, Montreal 
Crab cakes, Mmm...
  • Homemade Crepes
I get very touchy around food...

  • Foie Gras (French Delicacy)- If you missed that episode, catch up here. Or just watch the video

What We SAW

  • Olympic Stadium
  • Protest against Olympic Stadium
  • Colonial and Stately looking buildings
  • Leaning Tower

  • Chinatown
Every major City has some Gatekeepers...
  • Old Montreal

  • Convenient & Easy Bike Rentals (known as the BIXI system)
Look Mommy, I can read a map!

  • Directing our French-speaking cabbie back to our B&B
  • Finding and AMAZING Bread and Breakfast (A La Carte B&B). The only downside is that it was about a $20 cab ride away from Downtown. But the place was beautifully renovated and warm! (They have 2 suites and an apartment on the second floor, we got the opportunity to stay at both) Pictures courtesy of the website.
Juilliard Suite
Kitchen of apt
  • Metro System

What YOU should know (as an American tourist):
If you’re coming from the States, exchange rates FLUCTUATE daily. Know your stuff, download an APP on your Iphone or check the internet (or the front desk) before you leave the hotel and be assertive! During our 3-day stay, there was never more than a difference of .03 and .04 cents between the Canadian and American dollar but that didn’t stop vendors from trying to get over!

You don’t necessarily have to exchange ALL your American cash, most restaurants we went to accepted both currencies, but do be careful of their ‘in-house’ exchange rate. Don’t get got!

When you rent bikes with the BIXI, they do charge a $200 (deposit) on your card/per bike. If you bypassed or skimmed the ‘rental agreement’ at the machine, you might be shocked to check your statement hours later. They do refund the money within 7 days of the rental.

Have you ever been to Montreal? If not, is it on your Bucket List?

Until the next adventure,

It Gets Real in Mont Real