It’s Official! I’m A Published Poet!

 

Hey there, everyone!

I am so excited to finally be able to post about my first poem that is published in an online literary journal called Mangrove Journal. It’s the official journal put out at the University of Miami and I couldn’t be more ecstatic to be a part of it. Let me tell you how it all came about . . .

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved writing. I would write letters to people that I never intended to send. It was my way of expressing my innermost thoughts. I’ve always carried a journal, I was on the yearbook staff in high school, and I had countless notebooks with friends growing up. For some reason, I ventured off into other majors rather than going straight into English, writing or journalism. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I finally admitted to myself that this was the one thing that I was really good at, and the one thing I wanted to pursue.

When I enrolled in the University of Central Florida’s English/Creative Writing program, I signed up for a creative writing class that had one module focusing on poetry. As much as I’ve always loved writing, I’d never really attempted poetry. I felt like it was important for me to step outside of my comfort zone and really try to tackle it. With the help of a fantastic professor, I did well in the poetry module and signed up for two poetry workshops and an independent study in poetry after that semester. I can’t say that I’m the greatest poet who ever lived, but I think for someone who never ventured in that direction, I do pretty well. 😜

This particular poem that was published with Mangrove Journal is one that began as an epic fail. I’d written it as an assignment for class and it earned me a ‘D.’ As a perfectionist, I was devastated and disappointed in myself. I focused on reworking the entire poem and this was the end result. It proves that you can always fix a mistake, and that even if something is awful at first, hard work and dedication can make it great!

I am so incredibly thankful to the editors and everyone involved with the journal for accepting my piece for publication.

You can view the Winter 2017 Online Edition of Mangrove Journal below:

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Movie Review by Kristin: THE GREATEST SHOWMAN | #GreatestShowman @GreatestShowman

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Ladies and gentlemen, I finally got to see The Greatest Showman last night!

There’s a new movie theater that I’ve been wanting to check out and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. After work, we headed down there, grabbed a flatbread pizza and lounged in our extra comfy recliner seats. This may not come as a surprise, but I am a sucker for musicals and I’ve been so excited to watch this one–especially because one of my favorite dancers, Shannon Holtzapffel aka The Tattooed Man aka Prince Constantine is in it. But, you know, life happens and I ended up seeing it super late.

SYNOPSIS: “The Greatest Showman” is a bold and original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and the sense of wonder we feel when dreams come to life. Inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a mesmerizing spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

In any case, I really enjoyed it! The soundtrack was absolutely phenomenal and now I’m extra salty that I wasn’t able to be a part of the sing-along viewings they had recently. The movie had a great message about embracing what makes you different, and also to remain true to yourself rather than conforming to society’s idea of perfection just to fit in. I think, in this day and age, these are extremely important messages to convey to younger generations. Bullying is at an all-time high, so it’s important to teach children to be accepting of those who seem different and to be satisfied with themselves despite their own differences. Those messages were never lost throughout the one hour and forty-five minute showtime.

The singing and dancing were fantastic, the cast was great and, while the special effects could have been a bit better, I thought this was a solid musical that everyone should go out and see. Hugh Jackman was the perfect person to play P.T. Barnum. He’s energetic, he’s theatrical and he has a great voice. Fans of Wolverine might be surprised to see him in this kind of role, but most of us knew he got his start doing musicals. Zac Efron and Zendaya were also great, but that was already expected. What wasn’t expected was how good Michelle Williams was playing Barnum’s wife, Charity Barnum. I know she’s a great actress, but she was exceptionally good in this role. Keala Settle plays the role of the “bearded lady” and WOW! She has a powerhouse voice that cuts through every song she’s a part of. This is definitely not the last we’ve heard of her.

I’ve seen some mixed reviews for the film because some thought it was too cheesy. Let’s be honest with ourselves . . . name one musical that hasn’t been cheesy. I’ll wait. I think cheesiness is part of their charm and you’re kidding yourself if you expect otherwise. Go into this one with an open mind and the willingness to have a whole soundtrack stuck in your head for days because that is what will most definitely happen.

Most importantly, show this to your children. Let them dream. Let them be different. Embrace their differences and teach them to be accepting of others. They’re our future, after all.

30 Questions with Kristin | Part 3 of 3

YoursTruly

Good morning! Thanks for checking out Part 3 of my Questions with Kristin posts. I might do something like this more often, so stay tuned.

Here’s the last of the questions:

  • What’s the biggest waste of money you’ve seen?

My number one answer, on a personal level, would be someone spending money on cigarettes. I just imagine rolled up dollar bills being burned away. I’d rather spend my money on something that’ll last. On a larger scale, I would bring back one of my responses to another question and mention celebrities who feel the need to have 10+ cars, gold silverware, Swarovski encrusted refrigerators, etc.

  • What common misconception do you hate to hear repeated as a fact?

Honestly, I don’t have any. People believe what they want to believe and if it works for them, so be it. I know that people say your hair grows back thicker and faster if you shave it, and I haven’t really known that to be a fact. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate it though. To each their own!

  • Where is the best place to go to meet awesome people?

Hands down, I would have to say a concert. There is so much excitement at a live show and everyone is there to see the same artist, which means you already have at least 2 things in common–a love for music and that particular artist. In my experience, I’ve also met some awesome people at fan conventions.

  • What food do you crave most?

I don’t know that I crave a certain food, but I’m half Cuban, so I definitely have a sweet tooth. Actually, I’d like to add that I could eat pizza (no pepperoni) every day for the rest of my life lol. I don’t crave it, but I do love it!

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  • What TV series do you keep coming back and re-watching?

FRIENDS and New Girl, for sure. I also wouldn’t be opposed to re-watching The Vampire Diaries and The Originals though.

  • Among your friends, what are you best known for?

Knowing who sings certain songs. I’ve been called the human jukebox. Also, I’m the person that friends bring essays and emails to for proofreading and revising haha.

  • Who of your friends is most like you?

Am I allowed to say my niece? She’s the most like me out of anyone I know. I have similar things in common with certain friends, but I don’t think anyone is really like me. If I had to choose one though, I would probably say Brancey. We both have a love for music that is not understood by most of the people around me. We’ve also had a tough time in the friend department, so we have that in common too.

  • What was the most traumatizing moment of your life?

In September 2011–just three months after my family reunion that I wrote about in response to another question–I lost my maternal grandmother. Just five months later we lost my maternal grandfather. Both of these were shocking and unexpected, especially because I felt like they were going to live forever. This sparked my anxiety attacks. Then I lost my paternal grandmother in 2014, my golden retriever in 2015 and my father just 2 months after that. All of the losses we experienced during that time were extremely traumatizing, but I have some amazing guardian angels looking out for me!

  • What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from a work of fiction?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’ve learned a lesson from a work of fiction, but there are definitely lessons that we need to be reminded of sometimes. There are lessons that younger generations can certainly learn from fiction though. To answer this question, I’ll leave you with three quotes from the Harry Potter series:

  • What’s something you’ll never do again?

Trust a friend with an untrustworthy guy.

30 Questions with Kristin | Part 2 of 3

YoursTruly

Hello there! Thanks for coming back to read Part Two of my little questionnaire. In an attempt to give you a little insight as to who I am behind the blog, I decided to answer a 30-question questionnaire that I saw on Twitter earlier this week.

This is part two:

  • In what situation would you feel most out of place in?

This is a tough question to answer because I don’t know that I’ve ever really felt out of place anywhere. I guess it just depends. There was one time that I took my niece to a thing called MagCon. She was with the people her age and I was in the back with the parents who were all much older than me. I felt like I was in limbo between the two groups lol. Maybe a situation like that.

  • What artist do you really like, but rarely admit to liking?

There isn’t an artist that I would ever deny liking. Everyone has different taste when it comes to music. There are some artists that I really like that come out with shit songs, but I wouldn’t deny liking them because of it. I can tell you an artist that I can’t stand and everyone thinks I’m crazy for it . . . Britney Spears. Other than that, I have no shame admitting to liking boy bands, rappers, rock starts and divas.

  • What gets you fired up?

One thing that gets me fired up is when celebrities flaunt getting free stuff from big companies. In what universe is it logical that when actors, musicians, etc. make A TON of money on a project, they get free stuff to promote a company when those of us who make crap money have to struggle to make ends meet? Listen, I will gladly model some Nike shoes and Coach bags on Instagram if it means I don’t have to sell a kidney to get them. I see homeless people beginning for money for food and I’m reminded that there are some celebrities who flaunt gold silverware and 10+ cars in their driveways. There are homeless people who would love a new pair of sneakers, but you can find some celebrities showing off their extensive Jordan collection in a sneaker closet–made JUST for sneakers. Be like Ellen DeGeneres. Give nice things to people who deserve a break. I hate seeing news articles in magazines about where to find Kim Kardashian’s $1500 bag. I don’t care where to find it because I can’t even afford the zipper on that thing!

  • What annoys you most about the fandoms you’re part of?

I’m not really in any fandoms anymore. Unless you count being a part of the TN Kids (Justin Timberlake) fandom, but nothing annoys me about them. Back in my *NSYNC days, I used to hate seeing girls cry when they saw the guys or when they came out on stage. That still bothers me about certain fandoms today. I also see the fandoms that my niece is a part of and I hate seeing these girls sending rude messages to the guys they claim to love. It bothers me even more that those same guys respond to those messages.

  • What do you do to get rid of stress?

Write or listen to music. Those are the most therapeutic for me.

  • You have to relive one day of your life forever. Which day do you choose?

There are a few days I would want to relive–my first concert (*NSYNC, of course), the day my niece was born, a trip to New York. I’m about to get really deep here though. I would go back to a day in June 2011. We had a family reunion in Cape May, NJ where we all stayed at this cute little motel on the beach. It was one of my favorite weeks ever. Especially because it was the first one that all of us were able to make it to, and the last one before my grandparents and my father passed away. Everyone had such a great time and I would love to relive any one of those days.

  • How quickly do you jump to conclusions about people?

I try not to jump to conclusions about anyone because I wouldn’t want anyone doing it to me.

  • If you were a doll, what accessories would you be sold with?

Sneakers, ripped jeans, a hoodie, an iPhone, headphones and a journal, for sure.

  • What have you done in life that has given you the most satisfaction?

I felt pretty satisfied when I finally got my Bachelor’s Degree in August 2017. At 33, I was working full-time, going to school, working on my blog and helping to raise my niece. It was difficult, but I managed to do it regardless of how long it took.

  • What would be the worst thing to put in a piñata?

Cigarettes and pickle juice? I can think of a million responses to this question lol.

30 Questions with Kristin | Part 1 of 3

YoursTruly

Good morning, everyone! I saw this questionnaire on Twitter yesterday and thought it might be a great idea to create a blog post answering the questions. It’s 30 questions, but I’ll break it down into three separate posts. We live in a time where people “get to know you” based on quick little pic posts on Instagram or character-limited posts on Twitter. I wanted to give a bit of insight as to who I am away from the screens, so here goes nothing:

  • Explain your Twitter handle.

I wanted to have the same handles for all of my social media platforms and there was always one that was already taken. So, I tried this one out, it was available, and I liked it. Simple as that! (After I changed it, the show This Is Us aired and it’s one of my favorites. So @thisiskristin_ reminds me of the show now, too)

  • Who inspires you and why?

To be a walking clichĂ©, I want to say my mother because she’s held my family together for the past 40+ years. When my dad passed away, she took a huge step and moved out of our old house, which I never thought she would do. She’s not the type who likes change, so I was really surprised when she packed up our home of 28 years without hesitation. She’s strong, she’s funny and she’s just the best.

On a professional level, I would have to say one of my friends, Keisha Hatchett. Keisha and I have always had similar interests (i.e. baseball, TV shows and writing), but there’s one huge difference between us. She was determined enough to sell her car and pack her things for an internship in New York. She’s fought her way through internships and freelance jobs to a position at TV Guide and I couldn’t be more proud. We don’t get to talk as much anymore, but she inspires me to fight for what I want and to be a better writer.

  • Do you care what others think about you?

As much as I try to convince myself that I don’t care what others think about me, I think everyone does on some level. In some areas of my life I really don’t care. But in other areas, I do find myself wondering what people think about me. I haven’t had much luck in the guy department (thanks, Miami), so sometimes I wonder if they thought I wasn’t good enough or whatever. It’s a horrible thing to do, but for the most part I’m the way that I am and, in the end, I think that’s a good thing. While I might care in some aspects, I’m proud of myself for not changing to conform to their idea of perfection.

Also, when you’re a writer who submits work to literary journals, it’s hard not to question your abilities when you receive rejections from people that have no idea who you are. Their opinions are based solely on your work, and it’s so incredible subjective. When I get rejections I start to question whether I should continue pursuing a career in writing, but then I remember that Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and a ton of other authors also received rejections. Look where they are now!

  • What are you most looking forward to?

At the moment, I’m looking forward to seeing Justin Timberlake live (again) here in South Florida this May! Long-term, I’m looking forward to establishing my career now that I finally have my Bachelor’s Degree in English/Creative Writing.

  • What is one life rule you follow?

I actually have two that I like to follow:

The most important is to stay true to yourself. I’m okay with having to ask for help rather than trying to pretend like I know everything. I’m not the smartest or the funniest, but I try to be the best version of those things every day. I’m awkward, I have anxiety, and I’m way too trusting of people, but I’ve learned to embrace those things about myself.

The second life rule that I follow is to never go after a guy that one of my friends is interested in or has been interested in. A “friend” of mine didn’t follow that rule, and it resulted in literal heart break for me. I would never inflict that kind of pain on anyone.

  • What’s your dream job?

When I think about my dream job I immediately picture Liza from the show YOUNGER on TV Land. She works for a publishing company and started her own imprint with her friend, Kelsey. I would love to write for a magazine or to work in publishing. Being able to read books and discover unknown authors would definitely be a dream. Either that or something (anything) in the music industry. Recently, I’ve been looking into being a music journalist–someone who goes to live shows and reviews them.

  • Which fictional character do you wish you could meet?

I have three, actually. Four (Theo James) from Divergent, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). All of them are bad ass characters who fight to protect those around them. Corny answer, I know, but it’s true. Plus, they’re all gorgeous.

  • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually always wanted to be a writer or singer. Writing and music have always been two of my favorite things, so to be able to do either? That’s what I wanted, and that’s still what I want. It’s taken me a while to figure out where to start, but better late than never!

  • If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?

A lot of friends have told me I should dress up like Daria for Halloween lol. She’s extremely sarcastic (which I can be) and pessimistic (which I am not), but she kind of looks like me, so I’ll say her. It’s hard to think of a cartoon character that I would want to be anyway lol.

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  • What skill would you like to master?

Oh wow. This is a loaded question because I think there is always a skill that needs to be mastered. Right now I would have to say grammar lol. I always thought I was great when it came to correct grammar in writing, but after taking a course at UCF, I realized just how wrong I was. I mean, I know the basics, but there are so many rules and exceptions when it comes to grammar. I would love to master that for sure.

 

Well, that’s it for Part One! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me. Feel free to comment with some of your answers to these questions! Post Two will be up tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!

Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures at the Dentist

YoursTruly

Hey there, everyone! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far!

I wanted to write about my experience at the dentist this morning. BLEH. My family has had their share of dental issues over the years, and I’m no exception. When I was 12, I had to have a something called a palatal expander glued to the roof of my mouth. This was essentially a retainer with a metal bridge in the middle that had a tiny key hole in it. Every night, my mother had to stick a tiny key into that hole and push it towards the back of my mouth. As soon as she did it I would grab my head because of the pain. It was basically breaking the bones in the roof of my mouth because my mouth was too small and I needed braces. It was highly unpleasant and created an embarrassing gap in between my two front teeth. After that was removed, I had my braces put on at 13 and joined the sea of metal-mouthed teens at my middle school.

My braces were removed when I was 15 and way too defiant to wear my removable retainer. I mean, why would it have been removable in the first place if it wasn’t supposed to be removed? Lol. Needless to say, my teeth shifted over the years and, once I was able to work, I paid to have Invisalign. Yes, the person who refused to wear their removable retainer was now paying for removable trays to re-straighten their teeth. When that failed, I paid to have actual braces put on. My teeth hadn’t shifted much, but I was old enough to know how important it is to have a nice smile and I wanted mine as close to perfect as I could get it. So I opted for a permanent retainer when that was over. I guess I’d finally learned my lesson.

This leads me to what happened this morning. I haven’t had a cavity for many years. I don’t even remember when the last time was that I had one filled. I can’t go a day without brushing my teeth and I absolutely love the feeling of clean, smooth teeth. So when I brush, I brush. I made my way to the dentist first thing this morning and was greeted with a string of questions: “Have you ever had braces?” “Are you allergic to any medications or anesthesia?” This was all before the dental hygienist even looked into my mouth. After stabbing me repeatedly in the gums with a sharp instrument, she informs me that there is some bleeding and that she’s going to suggest that I have a deep scaling done. I don’t know about you, but the words “deep scaling” should not be spoken at a dental office. It’s terrifying.

I am about to be 34, I have never smoked a day in my life, I barely drink, I don’t drink sodas and I rarely eat candy. I never bleed when I brush or floss, so someone please explain why my dental hygienist believes that bleeding after being stabbed in the gums is a rare occurrence. I believe she had every intention of coming to the “deep scaling” conclusion even before I sat in that plastic wrapped chair this morning. I would love to see one of them be poked in the gums with a sharp tool to see if they bleed. So, now they’re going to call my shitty insurance company to see if the deep scaling will be covered by my insurance, which I’m sure it won’t be. To be perfectly honest, I really don’t care if it is because I’d rather hear this coming from my actual dentist before making a decision.

Does anyone else have this problem?? Maybe I just have to switch dentists or something. Let me know if you’ve dealt with a similar issue! I’m curious.

Have a great rest of your weekend everyone! & make sure to check out my recent posts because I have some great giveaways going on right now!

Chronicles of a Borderline Germaphobe

YoursTruly

Calling myself a full-blown germaphobe is a stretch, but I’m definitely borderline. I’m that person who can’t touch anything in public restrooms. I mean, why the hell would someone use the restroom, wash their hands, and then touch the door handle??? It’s disgusting! I’ve been in the restroom plenty of times to witness someone finish their business and then leave without washing their hands. Which means you have no idea how many others have now spread their nastiness on that measly little door handle. No, thank you!

We’re all aware that we’re experiencing a horrible flu season this year, which makes me extra paranoid about germs. If I’m out in public and someone coughs or sneezes, I head in the opposite direction. I love it when I’m out with my mother or my niece–who are the same exact way–and we give each other a look that says NOPE!! NOT TODAY!!

This leads me to germs at work–the motherload of all my germ issues. I even come home from work and disinfect my cell phone with a Clorox wipe. It’s that bad. About a week ago, someone at work started coughing and blamed it on the MILD winter we had here in Miami. After a full week of recycled paper clips circulating around the office, their persistent coughing throughout the day and their flitting about the office like they’re unaware of this flu epidemic, I decided to ask them what they have–strep throat. STREP THROAT!!! To make matters worse, they told me that their doctor instructed them to wear a mask so as not to spread the germs, but they refuse to “look silly” all day wearing it. There is no amount of Lysol that can cure the anger I have towards this total disregard for others. Why would you consciously come to work when there are people who can’t afford to get sick? The funny thing is that they actually complained about some of us spraying Lysol in the office because it makes them cough more. Sorry, lady. I am not giving up my Lysol spray until you stop hacking up a lung!

To those of you who are not self-proclaimed (borderline) germaphobes, please have consideration for those of us who are. If you’re sick and feel the need to tell everyone how sick you are, stay TF home!! I’ve been sick at work before and I stay at my desk with a can of Lysol and a fresh bottle of hand sanitizer. You know why? Because I have the decency to recognize that people have families and that some people get sicker than others. There is no need to spread around your germs when you could be taking PROPER steps to prevent it.

You have just read the Chronicles of a Borderline Germaphobe. Stay healthy, my friends!