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Apple Cider- From Scratch!!

While I sit here enjoying the best cup of cider I’ve ever tasted, I am writing out this recipe so you can enjoy it, too. 🙂 Autumn is literally in my mouth right now and this is what I live for.

Remember to taste-test along the way!!

Total time: About 1 hour

Batch: full batch is 4 cups- serves two glasses. To serve four (4) people double the recipe.

To begin, you’ll need: 5 medium sized apples, a knife, and a cutting board.

Time for this step: About 5 minutes (unless you peel them, which will make a future step easier).

Cut up 5 apples (largely diced) to pulverize in a blender. (dicing them just makes it easier for the blender).

Next, get out: A blender that will juice the apples, some water, Maple Syrup. (If you choose to, use a 1-cup measure and a Tablespoon- but I really eyeballed the measurements here).

Time for this step: About 5 minutes

I put all the apples in a blender and blended them until they were very small saucy pieces. I scraped the sides, added just less than a cup of water and blended again. I repeated this entire process, until I had added just over two cups of water and the mix was nice and juicy. Then, since I needed 4 cups of juice, I added one last cup of water, but before filling it with water, I filled the bottom of the cup measure with a thin layer of Maple Syrup- about a Tablespoon. (this made it the perfect sweetness).

What you need for this step: The (mostly saucy) juice mix you just made, A bowl, and a strainer (I actually stacked two strainers, so the strainer wouldn’t run into the juice and defeat the purpose of straining).

Time for this step: About 8-10 minutes (if you peeled the apples, it might only take 5).

I strained the juice through a strainer and pressed all the juice out until I had only peel left. The second strainer is also great for catching the apple sauce that will come out with the juice. If you don’t want any pulp in your cider, you can set the apple sauce aside to eat later! I don’t mind pulp, so I scraped the sauce into the juice.

Find & Gather: A saucepan, Cinnamon, Pumpkin spice (or Nutmeg- I haven’t replenished my Nutmeg… oops, so I used Pumpkin spice), Whole Cloves, a ¼ teaspoon measure, a 1/8 teaspoon measure.

Time for this step: 1 minute

Once I had only peel left (it was the size of a handful and had no more juice to squeeze out), I stirred my fresh apple juice and put it in a saucepan. Adding, just over ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (as I don’t have cinnamon sticks) (but literally just a teeny tiny bit extra), and just under a 1/8 of Pumpkin Spice, and three cloves, the cider was ready to mix and heat. (If you have Nutmeg, you can use 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg instead of the pumpkin spice).

Next, you’ll need: A stove and glasses to serve the cider in 🙂

Time for this step: About 12 minutes

Bring the cider to a boil, and then set the heat on low-medium to simmer it for 10 minutes. Before serving, if you wish, strain out the cloves.

Enjoy your steamy cup of heaven in a glass!!!

P.S. I’m finishing my second glass already 🙂

This recipe is a highly modified and personalized version of: petersfoodadventures.com apple cider recipe.

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HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!- Why Fall is the Best Season Hands Down

Fall is hands down my favorite season of the year. Apple cider gracing grocery store isles, cinnamon and pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving, oh my! Fall is fantastic, but what really is the hype, you ask?

COZY. That’s the answer. Fall is the coziest time of year. Everyone’s getting ready for halloween and Christmas coming soon. Everything seems to slow- the days are more solemn. It’s a peaceful, gathering season. (In both senses of the word). Everyone is gathering with their loved ones, farmers gather wheat. It’s a very uniting season.

In fact, the reason I set my book ‘Daisy, May’ to begin in autumn is because of all of the restoration that happens during this time of year. Both May and Daisy feel the peace and warmth of the end of the year, giving them a little encouragement and confidence to face their struggles with strength.

So, because it is finally fall (and yet, still 85 degrees outside), I’m going to share with you some of my favorite things about fall. This is in no particular order 🙂 I hope you find something you will enjoy doing!

Wreath making. I have always loved art and crafty things, just doing something creative with my hands. making wreaths is a fun way to get festive and an excuse to go to Joann’s, Michaels, or just on a nature walk outside with someone you want to spend time with.

Leaf Impressions. I did these with my grandpa when i was little… we’d pick out crispy fall leaves (and obviously try to find the biggest one, duh), and then take out our favorite crayons and make all kinds of cool leaves. It’s fall’s legacy.

Painting. This hobby is fun any time of year, but something about red and orange leaves that just makes it so much homier and closer to the heart. Trees are majestic, and somehow, fall makes endings look so much more like beginnings, and that is so perfectly and poetically paint-worthy 🙂

Apple Cider. I wish I had a family recipe to share with you so you could make your own hot apple cider to gather ’round the fire with; but really, I only have store-bought (I plan on making my own this year though, so stay tuned and i can share that experience with you!) and heat it up in a pot. Still good for hanging around the fire watching romance movies 😉

Pinecones. And I mean the ones that smell of cinnamon that you use to adorn your mantle or centerpiece. As a kid, that was always my favorite part of this time of year- smelling the scented pinecones. I would pick them up off our credenza and sit there inhaling it until I couldn’t smell the cinnamon anymore (or until someone was watching). I would even keep them in my room. Fun fact: Cinnamon is one of my top 3 favorite scents.

Hot cocoa. Okay, yes, hot cocoa is more for Christmas and whatnot, but I’m that kind of person that looks forward to Christmas right as September hits. Get out the hot cocoa and christmas movies! I’m ready for a marathon- don’t forget the blankets, cuddles, and fire in the fireplace.

Joy. I’m not talking about the razor from the pesky advertisements that we all know is sold only at (wait, I actually don’t know). I’m talking about that feeling of deep peace and wellness. And I DO have a recipe for that. Get ready, cause it’s long! Jk, it’s actually very short and do-able 😉

  1. Gather people (or a person) you love around your living room. Measure to your liking, or until your heart is full.
  2. Locate a comfy couch to cuddle in front of the fireplace on in the evening (and obviously to watch a movie). Hugs are a must for this step.
  3. Watch a sunset and collect an armful of leaves to impress. *This step is optional, but I always love adding it for that extra dash of spice.
  4. Warm Apple cider and fall crafts. For this step, you’ll need a pot (and stove unless you steam your cider over a fire), and artsy seasonings to taste.
  5. A handful of Cinnamon scented Pinecones.

See? Not very long. It just takes a few maple leaves, and good company 🙂

Apple Picking. This is a well-known autumn tradition to pick apples for cider, apple pie, or bobbing. No matter what you use them for, the experience is a great bonding and calm adventure activity. And I mean, who doesn’t love picking apples? Be one with nature, embrace the autumn, and pick apples (or pumpkins at a pumpkin patch!).

The Color of the Leaves. This obviously isn’t something you can do, but it is something you can enjoy. (It’s also part of step 3 in the recipe for Joy). And it is quite possibly one of my most favorite things about fall.

This is a very short list of all the wonderful aspects of fall (trick-or-treating, harvest festivals, carving pumpkins- but that’s all for a later October blog post :D), but it’s some of my favorites. Write some of your favorite fall activities or memories down below! I’d love to hear or try some of your traditions this year!

Happy Fall, and grab your flannels and coats! (it has to turn cold eventually, right?!)

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Working Three Jobs- A Day in the Life

Yes, I am self-employed, but yes, I have three different gigs to attend to. Here’s a look into my typical day and how I consistently balance each responsibility.

I get up anywhere from 4am to 11am. The first thing I do is check my socials for a few minutes: Email, Instagram, Twitter. I’ll then decide I’m hungry and probably just end up feeding the Iguana and eating a breakfast bar before going in to my photo room to take product photos for a couple that sells items on ebay (this is really the only job that is actually full-time). I spend about 5-8 hours on Mondays and Thursdays taking several hundred photos to edit the next day.

Surprisingly, editing the photos can take way longer than actually taking them, so even though I don’t edit every photo, it usually takes 4-6 hours. This, I do on almost exclusively Tuesdays, because I generally have enough edits to post throughout the week.

Also on Tuesdays- as well as Thursdays, I write for this blog. (I used to write every day on this blog, and I used to write a lot of research papers, but that was hard to do- and I really was just getting a feel for it). I write down some of my thoughts or a look into my lifestyle and hobbies. As a part of my blog tasks, around noon I’ll post to my PoppinTalk Twitter account to keep the social world updated. I also have an Instagram for this blog, which I posted to much more frequently before switching up it’s purpose and content.

That leaves only Wednesdays and Fridays left, which is when I concentrate more on the books I’m writing. I take those two days and any time left on other days to come up with ideas or allow myself to be inspired for any new content in my stories. On those days, I also look into and consider other creative social jobs, so stay tuned for news on that front.

In the evening, when I’m done with all my tasks (I usually allow myself to be done at 5:00 so I have time to myself) I’ll grab dinner with my parents and maybe watch a few episodes of my favorite TV show. When I finally head to bed, I’ll fall asleep possibly at 9:00pm or stay up all night working on resumes or my books until 6am. (I have stayed up until 7am before, but don’t recommend it; I slept until 3pm).

I structured my week based on need/demand/consistency. I layered all of my jobs over the week, but each one gets what it needs. My eBay/photography gig has photos taken, edited, and posted; in that order- each step getting its own day so I’m prepared for the next. My blog gig gets two evenly placed days of the week to shine; and my books get their attention on Wednesdays and weekends. I structured it this way so I am able to do all that I can for each one and work smarter rather than harder.

So sure, I don’t have a 9-5 office job, but I keep busy with my 3 side-jobs. And I’m liking it thus far 🙂

Hope you enjoyed reading about my crazy (maybe sloppy) day-to-day. If there’s any content you want to see, comment down below! I love hearing from you all. Sending love! ❤

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Blogger Tag- Get to Know Me?

Hey guys! It’s Tuesday, the beginning of the week. Today, I’m sharing with you a little get to know me ‘challenge’. A blogger tag, if you will 😉

What inspired this ‘challenge’ is a book I was gifted, from Target, called “3000 Questions About Me”. This book is very cool, and I sit sometimes just answering these questions- I feel like I learn about myself a little, too! To make it interesting, I’m actually taking a random page and answering the first 15 questions. (I didn’t choose any of these questions, they’re from a random page!!) So let’s get started!

Question 1: What is your favorite song to sing in the shower or while you drive?

Right now?! Pretty much Billie Eilish… maybe either ‘Bad Guy’, ‘Copycat’ or ‘I Don’t Want To Be You Anymore’. I do enjoy a lot different songs, though, like pop, classic, some rock, some country pop, Alternative… a little of everything!

Question 2: Do you think people should learn to limit their cellphone use?

My answer is, yes. I think that we would all do a little better seeing face to face and not being so exposed to internet bullying and platforms where literally anyone can judge anyone. That’s just what I think, though.

Question 3: Out of all the dreams you’ve had for your life, what was your biggest dream of all?

If I look back on my life, I see writing all throughout. Writing and being an author has always been the one dream that hasn’t ever really left- it was always there in the background at least. I think that’s why it takes time to find what we love to do, because sometimes, it’s hidden underneath all the bigger ‘cool’ dreams- just there in the background. I’ve always tried to incorporate writing into my life. (But also, a New York apartment overlooking the city- that too).

Question 4: What should be banned from your country that currently isn’t?

Take this with a grain of salt… my honest opinion, is abortion. (I’m not going to say what everyone else does- it’s not another one of those arguments to win, just hear me out)… I think it’s sad that instead of those around a woman wanting to aid with a problem, they just want to get rid of it- and you just can’t erase something like that out of someone’s life and it be out of love. I know situations are fricken crazy, but there really is help out there. I mean, I would love to adopt, I have volunteered at a center to help women in need- specifically pregnant women (for a whole year, before moving off to college), and one day, I plan on visiting an orphanage just to love on all those kids that don’t get hugs. I would love to just go hug babies all day for like a few months. So yes, life is fricken nuts, but love is always the answer. This isn’t to judge anyone who has had an abortion; I love every one of you, and that’s why I want to come alongside you (and see communities come alongside hurting women) and offer aid and support, rather than give you a quick fix so neither of us have to make any sacrifices. Love is a sacrifice- and that goes to communities, too.

Okay, next! Question 5: Are you scared of the dark?

Haha, actually yes, I am. I get Insomnia really bad most nights and I take a brick load of pills every night just to sleep, lol.

Question 6: If you could make a fictional character or cartoon come to life, who would you choose?

Tbh, I don’t really know, but maybe Atticus, from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. He has a lot of good wisdom.

Question 7: What are three things you look for in a partner?

Maturity, kindness, pure heart.

Question 8: Have you ever ‘licked the spoon’ and if so, what is your favorite thing to lick?

Cookie dough. XD

Question 9: If you and a friend wanted the same thing, would you let the friend have it first?

Yes. I’d much rather see them happy than be happy myself and see them sad. I’m more of a giver than a receiver- I think all my friends would concur.

Question 10: What metaphor best describes your life?

The early bird may get the worm, but the late bird will probably get the nice, fat worm… Success, takes time.

Question 11: What is one thing you really want to change about your appearance?

I want to be tanner, lol. But for real, I think I’d like my face without the mole on it. #supercringey

Question 12: Have you ever been served breakfast in bed? If yes, by who and why?

My mom, when I was sick as a kid 🙂

Question 13: What is your favorite book beginning with the letter ‘F’?

Fahrenheit 451. (This is a very oddly specific question, but Fahrenheit 451 really is one of my top 3 favorite books, so I actually had an answer).

Question 14: Have you ever prank called someone, and if so, what did you say?

Umm, I think when I was 10 once, me and my friends prank called someone my friend’s knew. I really don’t remember what we said, though- it wasn’t anything major. XD

Lastly and Finally, Question 15: What is one life story you plan on telling your grandchildren about?

Picking apples off my grandpa’s apple tree 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed this little challenge. If you did, let me know in the comments below! I’d also like to get to know you, so leave an answer in the comments to one of the questions!

I’d love ideas for future blog posts, so send them my way! Love you all, and don’t forget to give someone a smile and do an act of kindness for a stranger, today. Have a great week!

P.S. If you are interested in this book and would like to see other questions, here is a link to the product on Amazon:

http://amazon.com/Piccadilly-3000-Questions-About-9781620096888/dp/1620096889/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=3KHH4FMON9YVK&keywords=3000+questions+about+me+book&qid=1569352177&s=gateway&sprefix=3000+ques%2Caps%2C157&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE1RDBVSFJOUEg5NTAmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA2NjMwOTUxUlg4WVo2SFgzV1g0JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAzNTMwNDk3NllMM1A5Wk5QRDgmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

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Daisy May, Chapter 2- The Horizon

            (I’m still changing some things in this chapter, so stick with me- this was only my second draft of it)

Daisy booked another night at the Sonder-Pierce and settled into the beautiful, cozy apartment. Eventually, she would need to find a permanent residence and a job, but this will have to do until then. She opened a cup of ramen soup, soaked it with water from the sink faucet and set it in the complimentary microwave. While the timer counted down from a minute, she stared out the ceiling-to-floor window at the tall buildings in the city. She remembered Florida. Her mom. The tall fat pink buildings. All of this was so unfamiliar, but somehow strangely beautiful and comforting. She didn’t miss the smell of weed and alcohol, or the sound of her mother coming through the front door at 4am- some guy with a raspy voice dropping her off. One time, when she was little, she had looked out her bedroom window and saw a rusty red pickup truck parked outside, and a shaggy unkept man kissing her mother goodnight before she walked through the door. Daisy’s whole childhood, Lucy never let other men into their house, but she knew what they were doing anyways; her mom was out with them all night. Daisy always promised herself she would never end up like that- coming home late at night smelling like alcohol and another man.

The microwave beeped it’s finishing tone, and Daisy was pulled from her daydreaming. She took her soup from the little oven and stirred it, walking over to a reclining chair by the window. Maybe she did miss it a little bit- that was her mom; her only mom. She looked down into her soup. It was a small brown pond. She often had quick meals like this at her mom’s house. It was always ramen, cereal, or instant oatmeal; when they had something more grandiose, like chicken and rice, it was always Daisy who had prepared it.

She wondered if her mom was in the living room right now, watching ‘I Love Lucy’ and smoking a bowl of weed while picking at some cereal, like she always did at eleven in the morning. Sometimes, Daisy would come downstairs in the morning and find her mom pre-rolling a few blunts for the week- she always rolled them herself, because, “other places ain’t roll ‘em right”, she would say, “and’en I also know it’s got good quality weed inside. Enrique’s farm don’t got organic cannabis” (Enrique was Lucy’s most frequent guy-friend, the one with the red truck, and his was also the farm a lot of the little drug sellers in their area used).

Daisy stirred in her seat. She guessed she hadn’t thought she would have ever felt, in a way, nostalgic about it. Maybe it was just because that’s how her whole growing-up life was like. It was familiar and routine. But now she was off on her own, quite confident in herself and very grown up- she had to be; she was always the one taking care of things. But, she was in Boston now. And the money she earns is hers to keep. It’s her own life- one she has full freedom with. This change was good. It was time for her to move on with her life and leave all that mess behind- it wasn’t hers to fix anymore. It never really was hers to fix, but it seemed she was the only one that would.

She sipped on her soup, which had cooled a little by now, and smiled to herself. Her life is completely new now and possibility is everywhere. She could finally take the chances and pick up any great opportunity that came her way. This was certainly good.

            May’s next week was filled with tears and confusion and un-pin-pointed stress. Her life was just a ball of yarn that some big cat in the sky was rudely playing with. She knew this meant that things could begin again and start anew, but why did it feel so dang hard to reclaim her life as her own? As if individuality was difficult? It felt odd being so free, and that’s when she realized, maybe she hadn’t been. She always thought she had control and that it was mostly okay, but she guessed now that it wasn’t. Why did it feel like there were so many loose ends and like she was freefalling into a never-ending black hole? Her head was always spinning.

But then there was chamomile tea and her best friend. Yes, life felt so dang out of control right now, but yes, she had a good anchor and a strong support system- which she knew she was lucky for and extremely thankful. She never realized just how watched she was, until she wasn’t, and how controlled she had been, until she no longer was. It was odd, and she didn’t even know why it felt that way. Shouldn’t it just feel good? Shouldn’t she just feel happy? What was wrong with her emotions? Why was everything in the room spinning?

            She clutched her head, it was another migraine. She’s been having those recently and she wished they would just go away and leave her alone- she had enough to deal with, like… Independence? She groaned. Today was Wednesday- almost Thursday, again- and also, statistics day. It’s not that she was bad at the math, she just hated the class. She knew it really was necessary for her career in business marketing, though, so she couldn’t even complain that she would never use it.

            May was zoned out the whole time Mr. Minowski was demonstrating on the whiteboard how to calculate a percentile. The class was over in five minutes, it felt like. She closed her book and put it in her backpack and blended in with the crowd of students bustling off to their next class. The world felt like an odd cartoon to her. Like those ones where everyone in the crowd and everything around them is just gray. Barely real. She almost expected to feel rain and hear thunder outside, but there was none; not yet.

            However, what she did see everywhere were flyers around campus for a harvest festival corn maze event, and pumpkins and faux fall leaves adorning everything. It felt cheery and cozy. This was her favorite time of year. Fall season just felt like a hug. And a pumpkin spice latte was a hug in a mug. For the first time in a week, May smiled. Maybe it was all going to be okay… eventually. If not right now, one day- and that hope was all she needed right now. She would just hold onto that, and maybe grab her favorite fall latte on the way home.

            If God was good enough to create fall, he was good enough to redeem her future. She was convinced of that.

            Today, Daisy was nervous. Not a worried nervous, but an excited, antsy nervous. She was going to the library this afternoon to write up and print out a resume. The sun shone brightly and she felt like it was wishing her good luck. The slight chilly weather reminded her it was just about the end of this year. Fall and new beginnings was such a beautiful mix.

It was close to October by now. Pumpkin ornaments hung in coffee shop windows, fall leaves decorated bookstores, office doors, and light posts. Orange flyers for fun family events were stapled all about. A smile welled up in her heart. She thought to herself, rolling things around in her mind, ‘maybe it gets cold during fall because your heart gets so warm; we’d all overheat… who doesn’t want an excuse to wear big sweaters and cuddle up… maybe fall is the season of love and unity. Why shouldn’t it be?’

(I’m currently changing the entirety of this section, so bear with me 😁)

Daisy stepped out into the whipping Boston wind again, her heart warm and her resume full of opportunity. She could feel the future brimming before her with possibility.

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How Much Does it Take to Write a Simple Page or Two?!

Hey guys! It’s Thursday, which means the week is almost over (XD), BUT I did promise you all a look into my writing process. So here it is:

  1. An Idea

Every one of my pieces of writing start with an inspiration or an idea. Sometimes, it’s an inspiration that I’ve rolled over in my mind for a few months or even a year before deciding to actually write it… crazy, i know.

2. Just Jot it Down

Then I simply just start writing. Even if it doesn’t make sense at first. The first write-up (95% of the time) never ends up being what i use- it’s just to get my rough ideas down and on paper so I can work with them from there.

3. Fluffing it Up/ research

This is my first round of revisions, and I like to say that I’m adding the fluff- the good stuff; sprucing it up. This is usually when I go and replace words that don’t work, add or revise the adverbs I used, and start making sense of the paragraphs. This part of the revision is when it starts sounding good. And I start adding in the hard facts about my rough ideas.

4. Editing

I do technically edit a little bit when I’m going through the third time, but these edits are a little more structural. Like, if i have a run-on sentance, I’ll fix that, or if a paragraph needs to become two, I make that revision as well. It’s really more technical, whereas the last revision is more additional.

5. Further revision

I go through this process every time I write a segment of about 5-8 paragraphs; it makes it easier to skim through when it’s only a few bite-sizes, than when it’s a whole book ( ;D ). Also, every time I pick back up on a writing project, I re-read what I’ve written so far… every time. I want to keep the voice, the characters, the storyline consistent. I also go through and touch-up some things as I’m re-reading. Things such as, an addition I wasn’t super sure about, or a fact I felt like I needed more research on, or just the way I worded a sentance.

So,… that’s pretty much a rough layout of my drafting process. This is one of the reasons I actually was afraid to post my book I’m in process of writing, because even now, some things in Chapter one have changed (minor things, mostly). So, I’m super cautious about when I’m going to post Chapter Two, because I want as little as possible to change after I post it. (Otherwise, chapter three might not make sense).

Although, this is my basic process, sometimes there are less steps, or more steps- depending on what I’m writing. My book has obviously gone through more than 10 revisions already (and It’s only got two chapters, lol), and will be going through many more.

Thanks for following me and being part of the PoppinTalk fam. As a quick reminder, love is a verb; it is much more than just words you say, and it goes towards more than just the people you know- it applies even to strangers. Remember to give someone an encouraging word today, be patient with someone- it really goes a long way (and you never know what people are going through- so be extra gracious). Pep Talk over (XD). Love you all, and I’ll see you next week!

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Why I Started Blogging

Hey guys! I’m back. It’s Tuesday, so it’s the beginning of the week. I’m still new to this all, so I’m trying different things out. But first, I wanted to give you a little bit of background as to why I started blogging…

I have always loved writing and sharing ideas. Ever since I was old enough to hold a pen, but young enough that I didn’t know how to put the right letters in words, I’ve been writing. When I wasn’t writing, I was drawing or sketching. I even combined the two and made comics, sometimes. (I haven’t drawn in a while, but i used to be pretty good- for a 12 year old).

I have always battled with what to do with my writing. When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be an author- i think that’s the only dream I didn’t outgrow, but it was in the background, behind my other dreams, most of the time. However, I did publish my first book at 10 years old; I was so proud that I could go around and brag that I was a published author. And I still am hoping to publish another book some day.

The thing that most discouraged me about being an author, was knowing that it probably wouldn’t be a great income source. And in that case, it couldn’t be my main career- and then would probably not have time for it. So, I moved away from it for a short while (still writing short stories or what-not for my own enjoyment) and got other jobs, but I was never content. Writing still made me happy, and I began writing more novel-type books. I have maybe 8 started, but keeping inspiration for an idea is a little harder than getting inspiration (I’ll explain why in my next blog post, where I’ll share with you my writing process).

But of course, if your audience that you write to doesn’t like what you’ve created, it won’t get you anywhere. And I don’t necessarily doubt my books would sell, but I’d have to get a bunch out there to start making money, so the stories I put out there would really have to get some attention. I’m great at creative writing- and that’s also my favorite modality of writing- but, typing out a book takes much longer than a short researched article.

Which brings me to this blog. I began this blog as a reviews/informational aritcles/portfolio website to get my name out there, but I discovered (not much to my surprise) that, although I am great at research, extensively searching for the ins-and-outs of a different topic every day, becomes quite exhausting.

And then I realized: I can put updates of my recent book here! I’ve been writing ‘Daisy, May’ For about a month now- only two weeks before i put it online here (and chapter Two is coming, I promise). I was hesitant, because this book is in it’s baby, baby stages. I’m still working the ins-and-outs of the story line, the extra-characters’ names, and editing and revising a whole bunch (later this week or next week, I’ll share my writing process with you).

And that lands me here, where I am now. I decided to cut down posting on this blog to two days a week, and just post about things I love doing or things that interest me. Some of the types of articles I’ve posted here I might write again, every now and then. But mostly, I’m here now to write about my thoughts, my journey in writing, and book updates.

So, yes, it’s been a curious and experimental journey. But sometimes, to find what you really want, you have to just do something first. I didn’t know how PoppinTalk was going to take off, or what was going to get it there. But I also know, most everyone just wants something to relate to. So here is my bumpy, crazy journey through life and, hopefully, to success. Thanks for coming along with me on this ride of life 🙂

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Love- Undeniable, Unconditional

For today’s article, I want to talk about one of the unfortunately most controversial subjects in today’s world… but with a positive spin. Love.

Is it possible that there can be so many definitions of ‘love’ and so many ways to show it? Yes. And sometimes, all of it gets twisted.

What is love? What does it even mean? Frankly, love is unconditional care. That’s really what it is. And sure, there are different types of love, but ALL of them point back to that- you care.

How do you show love? When you love someone, you are always considering them, always wanting them to be well. Patience is a form of love, so is sacrifice, so is encouragement.

Love is in the smallest things. The tiniest expressions; but also, the biggest actions. Love is not a word, nor is it just a feeling; love is a verb. It is an action. If love is not shown by actions, it is not love.

That’s why we care for the people we love, that’s why we sacrifice time and money and energy for them. That’s love.

That’s why even when it’s hard and we’re low on resources, we don’t give up. That’s why, even when it means we sacrifice a position at a job, or an extra paycheck, we keep going.

Love holds everything together. Think of just one thing that love doesn’t hold together. Love holds families together, friends together, communities together, … even sometimes strangers together. Trust is built off of that care and empathy of love.

Without love, none of us would be here. None of us would be born, none of us would survive. This world is already too full of malice and deceit and hatred, be the love- even if it’s tough; and I’ll sympathize with you.

Loving a stranger or a person you don’t like is hard. Hatred divides this world, it makes people fight, it makes people kill, it makes people segregate. But love doesn’t do any of those things.

Love is not conditional- it is not on a basis of what someone looks like, what they believe, or how they think.

Love brings together- even the people that don’t look or think alike. They are people too. All of us are imperfect human beings. But that doesn’t mean we should hate each other or bring each other down.

Love is a powerful thing. And that’s why we need it. With that, I encourage you to love someone today. Smile at them when they’re having a bad day, give the cashier some grace and an encouraging word.

Life is hard. Love is sometimes hard, but love makes life worth it.

Unity From Chaos- Let’s Not Forget We Are All One

Hey guys!! This is the article that was written to be posted on the 12th (two days ago) the website’s been down, but now we’re finally able to post again a little bit. So here’s this one, I’m so sorry for the delay! Enjoy!….

In memory of 9/11 yesterday, a handful of soldiers, carrying the flag of the United States and a portion of the steel remains of the fallen twin tower, ran 18 miles down U.S. Highway 1. They were accompanied by the North Carolina Highway patrol state troopers, and were supported by the Moore Country Sheriff’s Office and the fire departments of both Southern Pines and Cypress Pointe. They said their intention was to “spark our 9/11 emotions that have perhaps faded over the years; to rekindle the sense of humanity and solidarity in our nation’s colors. …Never forget that day in September of 2001. Ever. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to each other”. It was an 18 mile walk down memory lane.

Along the same lines, Mountain View Elementary School in California honored the fallen heroes of 9/11 with a ‘Hero Run’. Those invited were police officers, fire fighters, and EMT’s, along with the children who attended the school. Captioning a photo of the run on social media, one of the EMT attendees wrote, “Thankful for the opportunity to honor and remember our fallen 9/11 heroes… and our hearts mourn the members of this family who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

On Facebook, one Nevadan wrote that the person in front of her had paid for her Starbucks coffee, “I thought to myself, what a nice gesture on a day like today!” And of course, she paid it forward in the spirit of unity to bless someone else. Communities came together to remember why we stand united.

Love your neighbor, not just today, and not solely in memory of that horrific day, but love out of memory that we all are human, we all are valuable, and we all need love. This is our country, our community- let’s mend what has been divided between us and stand in unity out of love. No matter what we believe, or how we look, love is love. This world is broken, but our country doesn’t have to be.

Daisy, May- Hope in Change Introduction

Daisy is a hopeful and curious 18 year old who moves out of her drug-addict mom’s home to chase a better life in Boston…

Meanwhile, May is a freshman in New York Studying for a degree in Business at NYU, when things in her life start going topsy-turvy and people she thought she knew show their true colors. Attempting to put the pieces of her life back together and become successful on her own accord, she must make ends meet with what she has, along with the creative and inspiring help from her new friend.

Where will Daisy, May end up in 5 years’ time? This story captivates the possibilities that arise from life changes when you chase after new hope and embrace fresh, loyal friendship.

(Stick with me during this story- This is mostly a draft of a book i am writing, so i will change things periodically. Thanks for following this journey!)

Daisy, May- Chapter 1.

Daisy sat across from her high mother in the kitchen and listened to her make every excuse in the world why she couldn’t take care of her anymore. She was broke- but Daisy knew that was because she spent it on weed and drugs. She didn’t have energy and always had a headache- that was side effects. Daisy needed a better life- she always said, “don’t be like me”. Daisy zoned out, her head dazed, and didn’t hear most of what her mom even said; but she had heard enough, nonetheless. She was a burden to her mom, even though, with her job, she produced close to half of their income. She had been wanting to get out of there anyways and took this as her chance.

            The next morning, after Daisy packed up her scant belongings, an uber car came around and pulled up next to the curb. Looking back one last time, she saw her mom smoking a blunt through the open side of a dusty window. She probably had ‘I Love Lucy’ on, but a curtain drawn on the other side of the window blocked her view. She sighed, ‘This is it’. Taking a shaking breath, she slid into the uber and the driver started his route to the Daytona Airport, leaving the ragged Florida home behind.

            The palm trees and tall pink and white buildings zoomed by, Daisy was lost in her head, staring out the window. This was all she had ever known. What would life be like in Boston? What would living alone or being outside of a drug addict’s world be like? She would soon find out.

Meanwhile, in New York:

May is cuddled up on her bed under her blankets, holding a warm cup of coffee. She had just showered and was now binge watching ‘Parks and Rec’, propped against three down pillows with a salmon colored throw pillow on her lap that said, ‘Keep Going’. She breathed a deep breath, exhaling the day. Holding the covers up to her chin, she sipped on her Pumpkin Spice Latte from Second Street Café.

‘Parks and Rec’ was her favorite show- she could probably quote every episode perfectly, but tonight she wasn’t really paying any attention to the characters on the screen; the characters in her head shouted over them. Just a few hours ago, as her professor let out her business class and she entered the halls of NYU to navigate to her next class, May noticed her boyfriend standing just outside the class doors, waiting for her.

“Hey, we need to talk.” He had said. And her stomach fell, she knew what was coming next, “I’m getting busy with my classes and senior year coming up. I can’t see you anymore”. ‘This is about another girl, isn’t it’, she thought to herself. She had seen him with Belinda the other day on the football field after practice. Before she could respond he kissed her stiffly on the cheek and turned and walked away. She stifled her tears and hid her face to collect herself. The moving sea of people blurred.

‘Ding!’ she practically jumped; a drop of her latte sloshed onto her white duvet as a text from her best friend came through her phone.

“How are you doing, girl? I heard about what happened.”

She sat for a second, then picked up her phone and replied with several messages as she tried to sort through her own feelings, “Hey, I’m okay.” “I don’t know, right now.” “I don’t understand” “I’m just mad and frustrated, I guess.” “I don’t know why though; he’s always been this way.” … “I don’t know if I’m okay.”

The bubble appeared and then disappeared as Christy typed out her response, “I mean, he was a dick anyways.” “He never really cared about you. You know he wasn’t good for you.”

“Yeah, I know. I just didn’t know what else to do or where else to go, you know?” “I mean, he paid for half of my tuition. I couldn’t just not be with him. I owed it to him, you know?”

“You didn’t owe him anything. He did that to keep you around and use you. You know that. I know it’s scary, and this situation is more than wrong, but you have to know it’s okay to just do what’s best for you.” “You didn’t ask him to pay for your tuition. He offered, so it was essentially a gift. You never have to owe me when I give you a gift, right?” “He was using you, May. It’s good that he can’t hurt you anymore. He’s a shitty guy.”

May knew Christy was right, she sighed, and closed her phone. She didn’t know what to reply.

Ding!

On the lock screen, Christy’s message flashed: “I love you. And I’m here for you no matter what.” “Call me if you want to talk or if you need anything. I’m 3 minutes away. <3”

May was tired and set her phone down, soon drifting off to sleep.

            Daisy walked up to the check-in counter at the Sonder-Pierce Boston hotel and stated her reservation, looking past the woman standing in front of her and out the window beyond her.

            “Okay, miss Dayton, you are in apartment 212, is there anything else I can do for you?”

            “Thank you. I think I’m set.”

            “Okay, wonderful! If you have any concerns, you can call us at anytime through the room phone. Have a nice stay!”

Daisy nodded, offered a smile, and began toward the elevator to go up to the second floor. She sat on the bed and tossed her backpack aside. A 3-hour flight and $300 out of her savings left her exhausted- more or less than the complete 360 her life just took. Only 4 hours ago, she was on the curb outside of her mother’s house, and now she’s 1,234 miles* away, not knowing if she’ll ever go back. Laying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, she closed her eyes and breathed deep, “Daisy, you’ve got this. You have to. This is it. This is your life.”

She woke up cuddling her backpack. She looked around, still tired and remembered the entire day before. To take her mind off things, she decided to go out and explore the city and grab some breakfast; she hadn’t eaten much besides complimentary pretzels in close to 16 hours. There was a Starbucks just a one-minute walk from the condo. Since it was fall, they were carrying the Pumpkin Spice Latte again, which was her absolute favorite. After her coffee run, she dipped in to Target, just a block away, to see if they had any jackets, as she only had a skimpy sweater and it was getting cold in New England (that’s what the locals called the area), and also bought a water canteen to fill up. After stocking up on necessities, she headed out to Fenway Park, just a few minutes down the road to enjoy the sun and the air.

Pulling out an old tattered leather journal from her backpack, she opened it to a blank page and wrote, “September 6, 2019- I finally moved out. I’m in Boston, currently sitting in Fenway Park. I stayed in the Sonder Pierce condos last night, and they were wonderful. I’m not sure where I’m staying tonight, but I might go back there. We’ll see. On a bright note, Starbucks is selling their Pumpkin Spice Lattes again and I’m THRIVING on it. Fall warmth just makes everything feel a little better, you know?…”  Her thoughts were interrupted by an old man who came to sit down on the opposite side of the bench from her and pulled out some sunflower seeds to throw to the birds. He sat and patiently cracked each one and tossed it out to them. Daisy watched him for a second in wonder, then asked him, “Why do you crack the seeds for them?”

He replied, “Because, my wife used to love throwing seed to the birds. She would sit outside and feed them the very same way for 60 years until she passed away three years ago. And now I do it; it makes me feel like she’s with me.” His lower lip quivered and a tear rolled down his cheek, “I know they can crack them themselves, but it was the love that she put into doing it for them that made it so meaningful and wonderful. She went the extra mile every time. She always said, ‘birds deserve a spa day, too, sometimes.’ I always watched her in wonder… She was a beautiful woman. I never found love after her.” He sat silently for a moment; Daisy’s heart melted. She had never even heard someone speak so much love for another person.

“What was her name?”

“Margaret”, he smiled and tossed another seed, “Margaret Millie Jackson. Strong, talented, graceful. And the sweetest librarian you ever could know.”

“How did you fall in love?”

The old man looked at her almost in awe and smiled, “Would you like the whole story?”

“I would love to hear it. Please tell me.”

(*according to Google Maps, 2019)

            May’s classes were short on Fridays. She only had two and they were her favorite ones, Business and Marketing. But her mind was foggy and unfunctional today. She sat with her chin on her palm with a messy bun and big circular glasses atop her nose. Her professor, Miss Delaney, noticed her exhaustion and came up to her after class when she didn’t get up with everyone else; instead just sitting there with her face in her hands. Miss Delaney was her favorite professor and often talked with her as a mentor. She sat at a desk next to May and put her hand on her shoulder, “You aren’t feeling well. What’s wrong?”

            May was quiet for a moment and then said, “It’s probably for the best.”

            “What’s probably for the best? Is this about… the guy you were dating?” she caught herself before saying his name; no one wants to hear their ex’s name right after a breakup.

            “He broke up with me for another girl.” She stated almost emotionless, “But he was never good to me. We never had a healthy relationship anyways and he took advantage of me a lot.”

            “It’s hard losing someone you thought you needed or that felt familiar. But just know, any guy who doesn’t treat you right doesn’t deserve you. It’s hard to see in the moment and you can’t blame yourself; it was never your fault. For your own sake, you have to give yourself grace for not leaving sooner and realize that there is better for you out there. I know these next few weeks will be hard, but you are strong, I see that in you… Is there anything specific you want to get off your chest?”

            May couldn’t think of just one thing, her mind was hectic, her heart was not just broken, it was shattered; she really only felt partially alive. All she could get out was, “…I’m sorry.” And broke down and bawled harder than she ever had in her life.

            Daisy sat there listening to the old man replay his romantic love story. He told it so well that she felt the butterflies and experienced that first kiss and felt like she was in the audience when they declared their vows sixty-two years ago. It was like a movie.

“…Love is work, but it’s beautiful work. The most incredible and satisfying decision you could ever make every day of your life,” He finished with a reminiscent nod and a smile, “the most worthwhile job you’ll ever be honored to have.”

            He threw the last handful of seeds and, folding it neatly, tucked the packet in his coat pocket. With a satisfied nod and a warm smile, he said, “Thank you for listening to my story. I don’t think I’ve told it since Margaret’s passing. It was wonderful to remember it and relive the gorgeous life we had together.”

Daisy said, “I loved hearing it as much as you loved telling it” and offered him an understanding smile. He tipped his cap getting up and said,

“It was good to meet you, Daisy. You have a nice day.”

“You as well, Mr. Jorge. Have a nice day.”

As he strolled down the sidewalk toward the street, she finished her journal entry, “…I met a wonderful old man, Mr. Caleb Jorge, today. You should have heard the beautiful love story he told about he and his wife, Margaret. It was true love. One day, I want a love like that… I hope to see Mr. Jorge again someday and I wish him many blessings in his life.

As Always, Daisy”

In May’s Marketing class, Miss Delaney pulled her into a hug and told her, “Oh Sweetie, there’s nothing you have to apologize for. None of this was your fault. Not even him being a dick. That was all by his own rotten intention. A narcissist will always make you feel like it was all your fault. But it’s a lie, no matter how much they want you to believe it.”

            May looked up at her, rubbing her eyes, “You don’t think I’m weak or undeserving?”

            “The only thing you don’t deserve is to be treated like that by anybody.” Miss Delaney assured her, “And I think you are the strongest person I know, so you’re definitely not weak,” She said with a smile, “This will be hard. And it’s okay if it takes you a while to understand what’s happened. Be easy on yourself while you do. And even if it doesn’t seem so right now, you’ll be okay. I know it.”

It was a chilly walk back to her apartment; her fuzzy coat hugged her chin. How was it so cold already? It was burning up just a few days ago under the spell of that August heat!

The weather wasn’t the only thing confusing May; she didn’t know why she was sorry- as if any of it was her fault, or that she was somehow inconveniencing anyone else. She knew she hadn’t done anything wrong and wondered when she began to believe she was the one that had somehow messed it all up. He was always the one texting other girls; standing her up on dates; putting in no effort, except to make a show of it; and abusing her. She frowned to herself. She never meant any of her relationships to end up that way.

Just as her nose was starting to sting from the nipping cold, she opened the front door to her apartment, which was all hers. Her parents were rich. Her dad owned a massive share in Google and was CEO of a company called Shipr (which is basically like Amazon). Money was never a problem in the Kinzie household. Her and her brother Austin always got along well, and her mom was practically her best friend. But, their dad was often busy and many of their relatives lived far away.

None of that could be the reason though, could it? May was so confused. Nothing in her life had led her to an abusive relationship. Maybe, though it was because they had just moved to a new town and her dad had extra busy days at work that year- she was under a lot of stress right before she met ‘he who shall not be named’. Her best friend always called him Voldemort; she NEVER liked him, and for good reason.

May had met Dylan the middle of her Sophomore year of high school. The same year they had moved. She also no longer went to the same school as her best friend. And she was of age to develop an interest in the guys around her. Dylan was quarterback on the football team, funny, and had a handsome face. But things quickly went south after she met him.

May shook the thoughts from her head. She called Christy, “You know what, I’d love to hang out. Maybe pop open that Rosé?”

Thank God her best friend attended the same college as her.