Tag Archives: History

30 things to do before 30

But nothing in life was set in stone and nothing in life is promised us. Not happiness, not joy, not love. Everything was variable and mutable and inconstant.

Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter

Right after I got engaged (end of 2007), I made a list of things I wanted to do before 30. I found a draft of the list on my computer the other day. So I present to you an updated version. I have less than 2 months to finish the list! Let’s see how far I got:

1. Marry the love of your life–When I made this list, this was my number one priority. Because of my husband and our struggles with love and family, I had this fear we would never make it. I wasn’t sure if marrying him was the right decision. Thankfully, it was the best decision I ever made.

Completed: 4/4/2009 or 5/24/2009

2. Help a complete stranger for no other reason than to commit a random act of kindness–I can’t think of a specific incident. So I hope I have done this. Now I feel like if I do it, it won’t be random because it will be to complete this list ūüėõ So I’ll consider it completed.

Completed: At some point.

3. ¬†Develop and routine a self-care routine–I have a routine for self care, but it is not routine, as in regular, yet. My goal is to do it for a straight 2 weeks, and then I will count it completed.


4. Step out of your comfort zone–I have always taken chances. But stepping out of my real comfort zone was going from a regular civilian to becoming an Army Wife (still a civilian, but you know what I mean). It had moved me to Texas, a state I probably wouldn’t have considered otherwise. I have gone from a staunch democrat to a staunch democrat who can see other people viewpoints (Let’s not expect miracles). And, I learned to deal with my husband being gone all the time. Believe me, this was definitely me jumping out of my comfort zone.

Completed: 4/5/2009

5.¬†Choose a¬†signature haircut, lip shade and/or perfume–Victoria’s Secret Amber Romance. It is awesome. Not sure when I got it, pretty sure it was around wedding time

Completed: Early 2009

6.¬†Love and accept your body–Ongoing process. I remember the day I realized I was hot. It was right after I got pictures from my first boudoir shoot when the husband was deployed last time. I looked like a model for sexy lingerie. In fact, I looked better than some real life plus size models. I was impressed. The husband even more so ūüėČ

Completed: November, 2010

8. Scream out loud, restrained, to let out some steam–I always had trouble with expressing anger. It almost always turned into some form of depression. I have yelled in frustration after a lot of anger being held in. But I never screamed, ¬†unrestrained. Screaming into a pillow or into the open sky, I want to do that.¬†


9. Stop slouching–I stand up straighter than I used to, but it’s not perfect. I will consider this incomplete.


10. Create a wardrobe you can be proud of–I think I always knew how to dress better. But when I was under my parent’s thumb, I could never dress as I wanted. Clothes were always expensive, and plus size clothes used to be ugly. However, clothes have vastly improved, I have money now, and I dress how I want. Slowly collecting clothes over time, I found ways to look sexy, pulled together, and cute all at the same time. I think I have a pretty good collection of clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories.

Completed: Sometime within the last year

11. Know your correct bra size–I used to think I was 44 DDD…. Around my 26th birthday I went to my first bra store that sold extended sizes, and got measured at 38K (38H UK). I looked less sloppy and skinnier. I loved my new look. Plus, now all my bras are REALLY pretty.

Completed: September, 2009

12. Get back to my favorite hobby: reading–As you all know, I came back to this full force. School, life, depression distracted me from my loves. But when the 7th Harry Potter book came out, I realized I wanted to go back to reading more and regularly. It took me awhile, but in 2010, I went back to reading full fledged. I think in 2011, I read 350 books. Last year was only 155, but you know, now I reread a lot. So I still get about 350 books read every year ūüėČ

Completed: Every day for the rest of my life!

13. Take risks at work or have at least one career change–Well I am at the cusp of that. I am finishing my thesis, will find a new job, and then outside of family and work, will concentrate on my writing career. This is my dream right now; my goal. I want this to happen. I want to be able to write 3 books a year, and get as many things published. I am putting this under complete. The decision is already made, and steps are being taken for it to come true.

Completed: Some time in 2012

14. Bake a cake from scratch that is edible and aesthetically pleasing–I am a pretty decent cook. Everyone says so. The husband is eager to come back home so he can finally eat my cooking. But I am not a very good baker. I burn things in the oven, get the ingredients wrong, and I am terrible at decorating. But maybe I’ll try something for the husband’s homecoming.


15.¬†Cook a four course meal that is also aesthetically pleasing–again, I’m a good cook. But I can never make it look presentable, like for guests. Garnishing and saucing are some of the skills I I need to work on. Again, maybe this is something I can work on when my husband gets home.


16. Bungee Jump or sky dive–I have been wanting to this FOREVER! But I am always afraid with being obese that I would hurt myself. LOL I doubt it’ll happen before my birthday, but there it is.


17. Help a friend find love–Epic fail on this one. Playing matchmaker is never really a good thing, but I really hoped to at least meet someone and go to a friend and say “OMG, I met someone for you!”¬†


18. Visit all continents (Antarctica¬†is excused)–This was really in a lifetime, but even then I only got Europe, Asia, and of course N. America. No Australia or South America.¬†


19. Deal with your issues–Funny thing is, when I originally made this list, I had no idea I had depression. I would have found myself to be mentally stable. But since then, I discovered a lot of my issues that was holding me back. I admitted I had depression and anxiety. I finally relented a few years ago and starting take medication. My life was saved. So I more than dealt with my issues.

Completed: July 2010 (the month I started taking Welbutrin)

20. Learn to feel pride in your work–I am not there yet. I may not hate myself all the time, but I still struggle with looking at my work and feeling pride. I still see everything that is wrong. Frustrating, but maybe with the thesis defended in August, I will get past this.


22.¬†Get something published–This was originally in reference to a respected professional I/O psychology journal. Now, it’s related to me publishing out in the real world. Since I upkeep a blog and write regular reviews, I will consider this done. I know, I’m really stretching this one.

Completed: May 15, 2012 (The day I started this blog)

23.¬†Become self-aware–This kind of goes hand in hand with number 19, but in this case I mean realizing my strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of my sexuality and what I like. Being aware of what kinds of pain I can or cannot tolerate. I think I became more self-aware when I moved to Central Texas.

Completed: Sometime in 2011

24.¬†Own a flattering suit or blazer–I need to get one, especially since I’m defending soon.¬†


25. Develop positive relationships with good people–When I made this list, I was starting to realize that I may not surround myself with positive people. People who would enrich my life. I didn’t know how bad it was until later, but it was there. Now, I refuse to surround myself with poisonous people. I have had even loved ones judge me for it, but I stand my ground. If you are poisonous to me, I don’t want you in my life.

Completed: End of 2009/Beginning of 2010

29. Swim in an ocean–I haven’t swum in the ocean in so long… It’s hard, and you can’t get far, but it’s doable. Don’t think this will get done either.


30. Make yourself a 40 things to do before 40 list–Cause you know, at least this way I’d have 10 years to finish the list!¬†


Leave a comment

Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , ,

Back to the Heart

“It’s not that I can’t live without you
It’s just that I don’t even want to try”

“Back to Your Heart” by Backstreet Boys

Happy (legal) anniversary to my husband! We have been married for four years. He hasn’t run away yet! ūüėČ

Yesterday on my Facebook page, I posted this editorial in regards to Marriage Equality. It resulted in a friend unfriending me. I don’t hold it against her; she was very graceful about it. Bigot is defined as someone who is intolerant of other ideas because of their own ideas. I can see how the word is inflammatory and hurtful. Sometimes, the truth hurts.

But, how do the people who know my history, think I would believe differently?

I grew up in a Muslim household and knew growing up that my only option was to marry a Muslim man. How hard could that be with over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world? When I grew up and fell in love with a non Muslim man, I realized it wasn’t that simple. It wasn’t about who was available or what was moral, but what my heart wanted. Your heart knows when you are compatible in ways that matter, when you complement and support each other, and that you understand each other in a way no one else does. Not about desire or physical attraction, but rather a soul deep connection. Hey I tried to move on, but my heart had made her choice.

Neither of our families were happy. His was better. They were against it for various reasons, including religious. His mom even suggested he, “not get married, just live with me.” But they eventually supported his decision and their relationship is rebuilding. My family was, and still is, against it. They tried to not only prevent me from marrying my husband, but also tried to prevent my younger sister from this “dangerous path.” My father sent out e-mails and dragged other people into the conflict, in order to make me look bad. He told people that supporting my marriage and going to my wedding was a sin because, “Muslim women cannot marry non Muslim men.” Not only did my parents not come to my wedding, nor did a bunch of other people. Some of my parents’ friends wanted to support them, others because they agreed with his philosophy. My relationship with my parents were over. And, It spilled over to my sisters. One sister chose to side with my parents, and the other chose me. The one that chose my parents, joined in to control my youngest sister. They tried to prevent her from participating in my wedding planning. They watched who she spoke to, and kept her under lock and key. Literally. They locked her bedroom door at night so she wouldn’t run away.

All because they felt my marriage was sinful. Sound familiar?

I swallowed and took what people threw at me, from the empty concern to the blatant, “you are not Muslim. I’m not coming to your so called wedding.” Relatives and friends I was close to reduced their contact with me to polite interactions. People lied about why they couldn’t come to my wedding, thinking that was the better than owning up to their own beliefs. I hurt when people said,¬†“I support your choice even though I think your marriage is immoral and wrong”. My heart constricted when my marriage is referred to as “illegitimate.”Abandonment hurts, and in combination with other difficult situations in my life, I fell into a deep depression. I didn’t get out of bed on most days and contemplated suicide on several occasions. While I dragged myself through grad school and planned a 250 people wedding from 800 miles away.

But I was lucky. I also had a terrific support system. My husband. My youngest sister. Extended family. Friends. People who stood by me, helped me put on a fabulous wedding, and kept me together. After our wedding, I learned the true meaning of love. Of Family. Of friends. It’s not based on blood or morality. It all goes back to the heart.

And, I have legal protection.

So, yes. I think you are acting¬†bigoted¬†if you are against marriage equality. Why would I think otherwise? Sure, you have the freedom of speech, the right to your feelings and opinions. You have the right to vote according to your morality. Having that right doesn’t change definitions of the term “bigot”. It doesn’t change how your¬†righteousness suppress¬†other people’s lives. It is our right to have the love that our heart chose for us, and the legal protections associated with it. It doesn’t matter if the marriage is between two Christian men, two¬†Atheist¬†women, or a Muslim girl and a Christian man.

Regardless of anyone’s morals, I have been married for four years to a man who exemplifies love, kindness, and tolerance. Here’s to a hundred more!


Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

I Probably Won’t

“I think in some ways every single person, human, vampire, whatever, has a choice to make: to be full of rage about what happens to you or to reconcile with it, to strive for the most honorable existence you can despite the odds.”

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Hopefully by now everyone has heard about the rape of the Steubenville girl, the delinquent verdict of the two¬†perpetrators¬† We have probably heard about the town and it’s members rallying for the two guys who raped the girl. By now, you have probably heard the tale of the sympathizing attitude of CNN and other leading news outlets. No, they were not sympathizing with the victim, they were sympathizing with the perpetrators.

I can talk to you about how disgusted I am by the ordeal. How appalling it is that grown men and women made excuses for these guys. I could tell you how journalists compromised human decency when they revealed the victim’s name to the public. You probably have already heard of the “drunk girl” and the “boys will be boys” rhetoric, and one or two of you may even be a part of it. You have heard of living in a rape culture and wondered who would perpetuate such horrid ideals.

But we are not going to talk about others say or do. Because I may also be participating in rape culture.

I was molested as a child. I am pretty open about it, it happened, and that’s reality. One thing I always held on to was, “at least I wasn’t raped.” Or, “so much worse has happened to children so much younger.” “I was just molested, not raped,” was my to go mantra.

But this tragedy brought up the question: What is rape? How is it defined? defined it as:

Rape is sexual penetration (genital, anal, or oral, including any intrusion ‚Äď however slight) into any part of a person‚Äôs body (with emission of semen not required) and involving one or more of the following elements:

  • Force or coercion
  • Victim did not consent
  • Victim is unable to give consent

(8 to 30 years in prison)

The FBI defines it the same way, as do most organizations that are experts in the field.

But like the people who are denying that what happened to the girl was rape, I do not want to view what happened to me as rape. My mind rejected the notion immediately. But then logical reasoning started to fall in place. Men can rape women, men can rape men, women can rape women, and women can rape men. Any kind of object can be used, from body parts to candlesticks. And if it’s not consented and sexual in nature, then it’s rape.

And that meant I had to admit something that I have been avoiding my whole life…

Days later, and I still can’t say it aloud. Just the thought of saying the words ¬†makes me¬†nauseous.¬†I couldn’t even type it out without feeling wrong.

Yet, by not admitting it, am I not letting the rape culture fester? By not admitting it, am I not saying that those high school boys did not rape the girl? Am I dishonest? Dishonorable?

I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that.

Actually, I probably won’t.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,

HAES: My Personal Struggles with Weight Loss

“What you eat is less important than why you eat it.”

Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon

So I finally finished the book, Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon.  You can find the review for it here.  Instead of posting a review of it here, I decided to write multiple posts this week discussing some of the points the author made and how it relates to my life.  Before I write those posts, here is a brief summary of my struggles.

I have been overweight ever since puberty hit. ¬†One day I was a normal child, the next day my boobs were bigger than that of a pregnant woman. ¬†My habits have been on and off healthy and unhealthy. ¬†At my unhealthiest, I would eat ice cream cake for breakfast (my dad’s choice of course), sat around and studied or chatted on IM because I wanted to avoid my family, ate chocolate because nothing else made me feel good. ¬†What else? I threw temper tantrums like a pretty emotionally unbalanced teenager. ¬†As a young adult, I appeared emotionally stable, but inside I felt like a constant pressure cooker. ¬†I used food and the occasional needle (literally, not drugs) to ease the pain. ¬†Fast food was especially a refuge.

What diet haven’t I tried? Everything from slim fast to atkins to weight watchers to raw food . . . Lemonade fast? ¬†Oh I did them all. ¬†Sometimes I lost as much as 45 lbs. ¬†And then I would gain it back and then some.

My biggest problems in life came from emotional issues. ¬†Abused (emotionally, physically, sexually). ¬†People who didn’t understand as a kid or even as an adult. ¬†Friends who thought I was lazy or stupid abandoned me when I needed them the most. ¬†I hated myself, felt I was ugly and unattractive. ¬†On top of all of that, the negative attitudes of my weight and the comments of “oh you would be so beautiful if you lost weight” just perpetuated the cycle. ¬†And the dam broke four years ago, and I became suicidal and withdrew from everything and everyone. ¬†Rationally I knew something was wrong, but no matter what, emotionally I could not bring myself out of the hole. ¬†I started therapy, diagnosed with depression, and the tide started to turn.

I got married to the most wonderful guy who I call “my knight in shining leathers” because he took me away from negative people and shrouded me in¬†positivity. ¬†I made friends who loved me and tried to understand me as I was. ¬†Therapy started delving into the deeper issues. ¬†The issues of my sexual abuse. ¬†My parents and family. ¬†My self-confidence. ¬†My weight. ¬†I started taking Welbutrin, which worked like a miracle drug for me. ¬†All of a sudden I could handle my life.

My views of myself changed. ¬†My weight became less of an issue. ¬†Sure people still tried to tell me what to do otherwise. ¬†But I started to realize that I was beautiful, and I didn’t really care about my weight. ¬†Food started to mean, fuel, not emotional comfort. I don’t crave sugars as much as I crave fiber now. ¬†I want to eat the banana so I can feel full longer. ¬†I eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast because then I feel fuller longer. I go to the gym because I want to, not because I have to.

And guess what? I lost 30 lbs, and KEPT IT OFF. ¬†When weight stopped mattering, and my health, both emotional and physical, started taking precedence–I started feeling a lot better. ¬†If I don’t lose any more weight, it won’t matter because my health just improves day by day.

So when I read this book, I knew I had to share some of the points the author made with you guys. ¬†So tomorrow I will write about negative attitudes. ¬†I don’t know how many posts there will be, but rest assured, it won’t go on for longer than a week ūüėČ

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Traveling into Urban Fantasy

‚ÄúThat’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.‚Ä̬†

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

I have become an Urban Fantasy junkie. I love it. I love the world building, the magic, the characters. I like the fact that I can become so immersed in a world so different from ours without having any dire consequences in real life. Because I mean really, in theory, Kate Daniel’s world is adventurous and magical, but who actually wants technology to fail and all our buildings to fall apart? I’m sure the people of Atlanta would be furious. But in books, you can love a world of brainless vampires and sexy shapeshifters as the world falls apart around you (literally and figuratively).

I started rereading the Kate Daniels series because of the new book coming out on Tuesday called Gunmetal Magic. ¬†Now that I have been reading Urban Fantasy for over a year, I picked up on plot points I may not have before (foreshadowing of Julie’s eventual predicament), and noticed how seamlessly the series fits into the Urban Fantasy formula. Not that it’s not original–because these books are original and fascinating–but that I can easily see why I love this book and others.

So how did I get tangled up into reading almost 30+ series in UF/PNR (with a bunch of failed starts)? Here is my story . . .

I have always been fascinated with fantasy elements, mainly magic. I used to read TONS as a kid, split between romances and magic type books. Some mystery. But high school and college my reading slowed down a lot . . .

And then I discovered Harry Potter. Oh, how I love MAGIC! I got hooked on to reading again, but I was a busy college student and then grad school started . . . I read the Twilight series and was disappointed.

After I got married I wanted to explore my love for the supernatural, but without all the teen angst. I wanted grown up books, filled with adult emotions and sex. Someone suggested The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I went to Amazon and did searches for fantasy, and the Kate Daniels series was highly recommended, so I bought both series (paperback, no kindle yet). I had never read about a world like Kate Daniel’s Atlanta and fell in LOVE. But I wasn’t addicted to the genre yet.

I read more books, but they were romance genre, and then got a kindle and was reading romances that just got kinkier and kinkier LOL. Around winter 2011-12, I wanted to go back to paranormal, so started reading the Breeds, and the Dark-Hunter Series.

When the 5th Kate Daniels book came out last summer, I was reminded of the genre and went searching for more. Read the Anita Blake¬†series, which started out strong, but got weird quickly. Then I discovered the Elemental¬†Assassin¬†series, and fell in love AGAIN. ¬†Followed by the Night Huntress series, because who doesn’t love a generous dose of Bones calling his beloved, “kitten”.

And then, I saw the Hollows, and looked at the first book and thought “cheesy” maybe I should skip it. But I read Dead Witch Walking, and was hesitant to keep reading, but I can’t stop a series when I start it unless it’s a BAD book. So I read the second book and fell REALLY in love. Always give love a second a second chance because this is my favorite series after Harry Potter.

And books kept adding up.  Cassie Palmer Series, Toby Daye Series, Jane Yellowrock series, Jane True series, Sign of the Zodiac . . .the list just goes on and on.

This love is extra special, because it led me to my own fantasies, worlds, and dreams. It led me to realize I love to write creatively. So thank you Urban Fantasy, for giving me a fantastic travel experience without having to pay for baggage, a plane ticket, or hotel room.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

Different but the Same

‚ÄúIf we are all alive ten years hence, let’s meet, and see how many of us have got our wishes, or how much nearer we are then than now.‚Ä̬†

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I promised a long blog about my trip home, the one trip after being absent for two years, so here it is:

Flying into the BWI, I burst into tears when I saw the Baltimore skyline. The wave of emotion that hit me when I saw my HOME was nothing I have felt before. I felt, to some degree, a feeling similar to a deployed soldier coming home or an immigrant returning to their birth country. Sure, it’s only a small fraction of their feelings, but that feeling of coming HOME was reverberating through my every cell in my body. I was sad for being gone for so long, happy to see the place, upset that El Paso does not have what this place does. And there was an overall sense of awe that has no adjective that can cover that feeling of coming HOME.

Although some things were different, I felt the familiarity.

Take for instance that while I was driving on 29, there is all of a sudden a new exit, that happens to be a toll road, and a spaghetti bridge intersection out of nowhere. The ICC was built and opened at some point! That was only talk when I was there, not thinking it was going to be built. . . ever really. But there it was, in all of it’s fancy glory. It was altogether different yet a normal part of everyone’s lives already.

Even what was the same felt different at first. Taking exits and roads that I used to take, I felt, disconnected somehow. Although intellectually I recognized everything, I didn’t feel as if I were a part of it. But that changed by the end of the trip. I felt myself falling into the same patterns of driving from before, and I was comfortable in a way I haven’t been in Texas or Chicago. Things were different but felt the same.

The people were amazing. It was awesome seeing friends from different parts of my life: childhood, college, work, and even met an online friend in person for the first time! It’s fascinating how so many of us have changed, got married, had kids, bought a house. Yet when we get together with our old crowd, we revert to the giggling high school girls we once were. Not in a bad, awkward way, but in a “those were the days” way. We may be wearing stethoscope and changing diapers, but we are still the people with pig tails and fairy tales. Things were different, but still the same.

I moved away from Maryland 6 years ago, and I left with some preconceived notions. Like that people in D.C. are rude. But being back in D.C. for a week (after living in Chicago, AL, and Texas), I found that people are not just polite, but I fit in with them seamlessly. I used to think people drove crazy at home. But after seeing the drivers down here, who drive like they don’t care about their lives, people in Maryland drive smoothly and effectively.

So there are changes. It’s been awhile, 6 years since I lived there, 2 years since I’ve been back, it’s to be expected. What surprised me was how the same it still was and how I still fit seamlessly into the culture. No matter where I go, Maryland will always be the place where I grew up and made wishes for the future.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,


“I’m not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong
I don’t regret this life I chose for me
But these places and these faces are getting old
So I’m going home.”

Home by Daughtry

First of all, an apology for the past week and next couple of weeks.  I will not have very many posts as I am very busy.  The husband left town on a training mission, I had a few FRG stuff to do, and a wedding to prepare for.

ANDDDDD of course visiting home! ¬†I leave Wednesday and come back on Monday. I¬†am very excited, I haven’t visited home in 2 years. ¬†I can’t wait to see all my friends and catch up to them.

I am looking forward to seeing green grass, feel humidity and cooler¬†temperatures. ¬†Yes, Maryland has been hit with some very bad heat, but I’m hoping it will be cooler when I visit. ¬†At least cooler than here and less “the sun ¬†burning off your skin”.

The army life can be exhausting at times, and it’s good that I have people and places to visit that anchor me when I feel lonely. ¬†Hopefully, going home will help with that.

I’m going home ūüôā

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

%d bloggers like this: