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Christmas in NYC

For those who don’t know me, you may not know that I looove NYC. It is absolutely magical and breathtaking, and one of my favorite cities. I mean, it is home to Broadway, so how could it not be? Usually I try to go once a year to this magical place, for a couple of days, and see a show or two, and just enjoy everything the city has to offer, which is a lot.

Recently, I went to NYC for the weekend and everything was decorated for Christmas. Let me tell you, Christmas in NYC is stunning. I’ve always gone before or after, so I’ve never seen the tree at Rockefeller or the Rockettes Christmas show or any of the beautiful decorations that are just all over the place. So I was super excited to finally spend a weekend during the holiday season and enjoy some of the sites.

 

I was there for a total of three days, and it was wonderful. The first day I had a super early flight, and I flew in Friday morning. By the time we got through the airport and to the Uber and into the city, it was around lunchtime. We grabbed a bite to eat, checked into the hotel, and then the exploring started. First off, we got tickets to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular for that afternoon, and let me tell you, it was spectacular. I love dancing, and I used to do ballet and a few other styles as a kid, and seeing so much of that was just stunning. And they’re so in sync! Because we were right there, we popped by the Rockefeller Center to check out the tree. Of course, the tree is huge, and stunning, but even more so at night. So while I took a few pictures, the real draw was to see it at nighttime with all the lights. From there we just wandered around, before and after the show, saw the beautiful display at Saks Fifth Avenue- every window was Snow White related. Gorgeous!

   

Day two was Broadway day! I had gotten us tickets to see Anastasia the musical months before the trip, and let me tell you, that show did not disappoint. The actors were absolutely flawless, and everything was perfect. The music, the lights, the set, I truly felt like I was transported to Petersburg, and it definitely was over too quickly. After that, we had to grab some of our favorite cheesecake ever at Junior’s. You know a place is popular when there is a line out the door for to go orders in 30 degree weather. It was chilly, but oh my goodness, this stuff is so worth the wait.

Day three we did some shopping and just wandered around, as we had a flight to catch that evening back to Florida. Everywhere had Christmas lights and decorations all around, and for the most part, the weather was perfect. No snow, but definitely cold enough that snow was on its way. The last day did offer some rain, which with all the skyscrapers around, made it a little dark and gloomy, but since the other days were bright and clear, it wasn’t too terrible. At least it held off until we were leaving!

Overall, while some of the crowds were absolutely ridiculous to try to get through, there is definitely something magical about NYC at Christmas, and I’d highly recommend taking some time to go see everything. It’s worth it, I promise.

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Musings of a 25 Year Old

Well, I made it. I’m officially the big 2-5. A quarter of a century. And before you ask, no I don’t feel any different, not wiser, not more of an adult. But there is something about turning 25 that makes you reflect on life and where you are. And think back on where you thought you would be at 25 years old five or even ten years ago.

I thought I would be engaged. The hopeless romantic in me figured that by 25, I’d definitely be engaged to my prince charming. I mean, that was the plan after all. Meet him no later than 22, be engaged by 25, married by 26, and at least one kid by 30. That was the grand plan I had when I was younger, but I think it’s safe to say, that did not pan out quite the way I thought it would. Instead, I have hit 25 single, without having met prince charming, at least as far as I know. I guess it’s safe to say that plan has not worked out quite the way I wanted it. But that’s the funny thing about plans like that. You don’t get to control them, nor do you get to decide what age these things are going to happen. That’s up to God, and He decided that 25 was not that magical age like I thought it would be. And that’s ok. Life changes, and while that’s sometimes hard for me as a control freak/lover of plans, it is what it is and I’m learning to roll with it.

I thought I would be owning my own business. Yes, you read that right. When I was 20, my big dream was to own my own event planning company by this time in my life. However, I wound up going in a completely different direction, and that’s ok. The plan changed, and I must say, I think it turned out well. I didn’t get a “big girl job” immediately after I graduated college, instead I worked retail full time for a couple years. And I enjoyed it. It taught me a lot about customer service, and it taught me about perseverance, and never giving up. And now, I’ve been in the SEO world for over two years, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve grown a lot as a person. It wasn’t where I imagined I’d be, but I’m pretty happy with where I have wound up.

Now, those are big things that I expected to happen. But the great thing about life is that there are so many great unplanned things that happen in between when you’re making plans and God is having a laugh and making His own plans.

I’m working on a novel. Will it be good? Hard to say, I’d like to think so, but there’s no guarantee on that one. I can tell you, I’ve enjoyed writing it, and I do plan on sending it out to some publishers and then if nothing happens from that, I’ll look into self publishing it. I’m not doing it for the money, nor do I expect to become a famous author from it (though, I would not complain if that happened!) but instead I’m doing it because I like to write, and it’s fun.

I’ve grown this blog. This blog was originally on Blogger, called Rachel’s Closet, and was a project for an SEO class I was taking in college (the irony is not lost on me that I would wind up taking that class). It has since grown to encompass so much more than just fashion tips and to be so much more than just a class project. It’s still slow going, but I have faith in it, and I’m putting in the work to make it what I want it to be. I’ve also got a few more changes in the works for it, so big things will be coming.

I’ve done commercials and even an Indie film. I never thought at 25 that I would be pursuing my love of acting, let alone have gotten to be an extra in a movie with Tom Cruise, be in Disney and Universal commercials, or be a supporting role in an independent film. Those experiences have been absolutely amazing. I met so many new people, had a great time, and got to explore an industry I’ve always wanted to be in. Sure, it’s all small scale stuff, but it’s been amazing to get to be a part of them, and I’ve made great memories.

All in all, it’s not whether you’ve made the goals that you set. It’s whether you are happy in your life or not. And if not, then change it. Make that a goal of yours, and execute it. Life’s too short to not be happy.

 

That Ghost

There are certain dating games I can’t stand. Playing hard to get is one of them. It just adds unnecessary confusion to an already confusing situation. Breadcrumbing, also not my thing, and not something I’m a huge fan of. But you know what absolutely drives me nuts? Ghosting. And the worst part is, I’ve done it.

Before you judge me too harshly, let me explain. This guy and I had gone on a couple of dates, but things weren’t really working out on my end. So I tried to end things, but he wanted to work on our issues, and I agreed we’d give it another shot. But, things didn’t change, and when I was ready for a change, he wasn’t. So he kept texting, and at first I did my best to respond. But eventually, I slowly eased off on responding, and instead gave little information back. Until he stopped texting. So, it wasn’t the true definition of ghosting, but it was enough of it for me. And I can say, I don’t ever want to do that to someone again, because I know how much it hurts to be ghosted.

I’ve been ghosted by several people, some friends, some guys I liked. No matter the situation, it totally sucks. Not to mention, it goes against everything that we as humans want. We want closure, we want endings. We don’t like when we miss the end of a show, or the end of a book is ripped out, because we want to know what happened, we want to get closure on that chapter. But when you ghost someone, you’re denying them that closure. You’re also denying them the chance to know what went wrong. If you’re acting like everything is fine, saying you want to see someone again, and talking to them for a bit before just disappearing, they have no idea that anything is wrong, they have no way to know that it’s coming. Which means, they also can’t work towards change, if it was something that they did wrong. Maybe you didn’t like something, but rather than telling that person, you just disappeared. Maybe, you ghosted on them because you liked her a little too much, and that freaked you out, or you decided that you weren’t good enough for her. Well, that’s great, except everyone else should get a say in things as well. Yeah, I get it, sometimes people are too clingy, or don’t want to accept something has ended. But before you ghost, make sure that you didn’t lead someone on. If you are talking to someone and something happens, and you both agree to still be friends, then you don’t get a right to just disappear.

But, if you have made that decision to ghost someone and ignore anything they send, just make sure that you’re ok with that. You’re ok with the fact that that’s how you’ll be known to their friends and family. “The one who disappeared.” That you’re ok with treating someone that poorly that you’re going to pretend that they don’t exist. Do I sound harsh? Well, that’s because I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve done it, and I’ve had it happen enough to know just how much it sucks.

What Happened to Halloween?

What Happened to Halloween?

Hey y’all, so anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love the holidays. And I don’t just mean Christmas, I mean ALL holidays, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. I love how holidays have a way of bringing people together, and giving us something to celebrate or enjoy, especially in the random chapters of our lives. Plus, there’s always some magic to any holiday. What’s been bothering me lately though, is how we (collective we as a society) seem to rush through holidays and only really focus on the main one, Christmas. I mean, I don’t know about y’all, but Thanksgiving, a holiday focused on things we are thankful for, and a big feast, is pretty important to me. Again, I love Christmas, but I think our holidays should be enjoyed, as each one comes and goes. Which is why I have to ask, two days before the spookiest holiday around, what happened to Halloween?

Halloween is one of those holidays that kids love, but I love decorating for it as an adult. I loved dressing up and getting candy as a kid, but there’s just something cool to me about going to a pumpkin patch and picking out the perfect pumpkin to carve. Or finding those bales of hay that just smell like fall. Not to mention, answering the door for trick or treaters and seeing all the frightening ghouls and goblins that grace the neighborhood.

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But it seems to me that, as society dictates, despite the fact that Halloween is not even here yet, we are already over it. All of the stores have already discounted all of the Halloween decorations at 50% off and are pretty much sold out, and Christmas trees have already taken their place. Excuse me, no. Just no. We have not even hit November yet! Don’t get me wrong, getting my mummy cat decoration at half off was great, but I remember when my parents and I would go the day after Halloween to the stores to get all the deals. Nothing was on sale until November 1st, because until then, that was the holiday we were focused on. Not Christmas. But now, we haven’t even hit that hallowed day, and it’s already in the past.

I feel like we didn’t have that build up to Halloween. I mean, for goodness sakes, they had decorations for Halloween in July! Come on guys! That’s a little ridiculous, July is still summer. We haven’t even entered fall, and yet you’re already pushing pumpkins down our throats? What ever happened to enjoying the holidays and the season you’re in? I decorated for fall at the beginning of October, but the final Halloween preparations happened this week. And guess what, for Christmas, I won’t decorate until December. Because, I have a holiday in between, and I plan on enjoying the rest of this beautiful fall weather (yes Florida is actually on par with the season lately, and it’s amazing). After Halloween, I plan on keeping out some of the fall decorations, while packing up Dante (no worries, I included a pic) and my mummy cat the day after until next October.

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Everything in life is so go, go, go, and we’re always looking to the next big thing, rather than just enjoying the season we’re in. And that’s one way to live, but I guess I just prefer a little more laid-back. I want to enjoy the present, and while looking towards the future is great, it’s important to live in the moment and cherish what’s happening right now. Because sometimes, you get so carried away preparing for the future, that when you look back, you don’t have as much to remember in the past. I don’t want that. I want to have lots of wonderful memories, in all seasons. And yes, I am one of those people who had a life plan, and a timeline for when everything was supposed to happen. And guess what, God has His own timeline, so you may as well just sit back and enjoy the time you’re in right now. Planning for the future is great, but you have to enjoy the present at the same time. So let’s keep Halloween, as it is, and remember on Tuesday, that this is Halloween, not pre-Christmas season.

 

Ways to Wear Your Lilly Into Fall

I love fall. It’s the start of cold weather, holiday flavored beverages, and the holidays. A time meant for being with family and being thankful for everything that God has blessed you with. Leaves are changing, so are clocks, and so is fashion. Sadly, when we come into fall, we have to say goodbye to our summer wardrobe. As a Florida girl, I love Lilly Pulitzer styles. They’re lightweight and cute, and perfect for the mostly year-round heat we experience. But on those occasional days when it does cool down, I still want to be able to wear my Lilly. So here are some tips on ways to wear your Lilly into fall.

  1. Wear darker prints. We know Lilly Pulitzer is known for her bright prints, but some of her prints do use darker colors in the mix or as the base. As we move into the fall and winter months, switch to your more muted Lilly’s and leave the hot pinks and yellows for spring.
  2. Add a cozy cardigan. Most of Lilly’s items are short-sleeved or lightweight, because the brand was designed in Florida. So for those days when we get a bit of a nip in the air, especially in the mornings and at night, add a cozy cardigan to keep warm.IMG_1145
  3. Wear with boots! I love boots, they’re cute and comfy and go with just about everything. Including, those long sleeve Lilly dresses. So pair up a few, and you have a great wardrobe for work even in the fall months, without having to go buy more clothes.IMG_1139
  4. Mix with darker pieces. For those days that you absolutely can’t resist throwing on that hot pink and navy blue print, pair with a pair of navy pants or a skirt, something to help mute the outfit. This way, you can still wear your summery prints, without looking too much like you don’t know what season you’re in.
  5. Go tropical! If all else fails, or you just hate cold weather, go hide from it on a tropical island where it is summer all the time. No one there will bat an eye at your brightly colored Lilly.

In all seriousness though, there are so many great ways to add Lilly into your fall wardrobe, including accenting your outfit with a stylish scarf. As much as I love shopping and buying new pieces, I also love saving money, and this is a great way to spruce up some fall/winter outfits, all with items already in my closet.

 

The 2/3 Rule

When I was in college, my sorority Big and I had a fashion rule. It was something we held ourselves accountable for, partly because we represented a bigger group of girls on campus, and we wanted to always look well-dressed and ready for whoever we could meet. Not to mention, you never know who you are going to see on a college campus, and any moment can turn into networking in no time. So because of this, we had what we called the 2/3 rule.

So ideally, there are three pieces to your full wardrobe each day. Your hair, makeup, and outfit. So we both felt, unless you were going to the gym or the dr because you’re legit sick as a dog, that it was important to ensure that every day, at least 2/3 of those pieces were done well. So for example, if your outfit wasn’t that great, maybe you have an 8 am class, maybe you’re just running to target after cleaning the house, that you would still have your hair either straightened or nicely done, just not thrown up in a bun or ponytail, and you would at least have some makeup done. So your outfit didn’t have to be spectacular, but you still look presentable.

My Big had long curly hair, and I have long thick hair, so bad hair days were sadly inevitable for both of us. On those days where we just couldn’t do anything more for our hair other than put it up in a ponytail and admit defeat, we made sure that our makeup was done (and I don’t mean the whole shebang, I usually just wear a tinted moisturizer, eyeliner, mascara, and a lip gloss; none of that contouring stuff) and that our outfit looked cute. Again, I don’t mean a super cute dress and heels, but I mean we didn’t go out and about in sweatpants. Honestly, unless it was part of a costume, I didn’t leave my apartment in sweatpants. That’s just a no in my book, at least out in public.

The reason that we came up with this was because we both feel that appearances are important. Did you know that first impressions are made within seconds? Literally, the blink of an eye. And while it’s nice to think that we can improve upon people’s first impression, it’s actually harder to do that than you’d think. According to an article from http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2012/11/first-impressions.aspx, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” says James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University and researcher on impression management.” That means, that no matter how impressive you are to someone after the fact, they will always have that first impression that created their very first opinion of you. I personally want my first impression on people to be that I put effort into things. Think about it, if you don’t put any effort into how you present yourself, why would a potential employer think you’d put effort into a job? Or how about a professor on your first day of class. Are they going to have a good impression if you show up looking like you rolled out of bed? Taking time to make yourself presentable is a form of respect to others. You’re showing them that you respect them, their time, and their effort.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some days we all slip up. I’ve definitely wandered outside of my house in yoga leggings before, and without any makeup on. It’s a rule we made up years ago, but it’s one I still strive to follow through on. Of course, like anything, I’m not perfect and sometimes I fall short, but the important part is to try. Which is why, if you manage to have your hair done nicely, makeup, and a cute outfit, you’re even better off. If not, worst case, try to have two out of three. First impressions matter.

Opening Your Heart Again

Breakups suck. Sometimes they suck when you weren’t even dating someone, but that almost relationship still hurts. But even harder than just surviving the breakup, is opening your heart again after the fact. I mean, we all know that heartbreak is a fact of life, but sometimes it can be hard to let someone in, especially after we’ve had a particularly hard breakup.

I personally think that’s part of the problem with modern dating. Everyone’s so big on keeping things casual so they don’t get hurt, but the reality is, you can still get hurt. Whether you’ve fallen for your best friend and it’s not reciprocated, or you just broke up with someone that you’d been dating for 3 years, it can be hard to start all over again. As humans, we aren’t that great at dealing with change. In fact, I’d say most of us will say we’re good with change, but only the change we want. Otherwise, we resist the change, and want nothing to do with it. But the fact of the matter is, whether you let someone in or not, at least consciously, you can still get hurt. They can still leave you or cheat on you or ghost you. As much as you’d like to control how other people feel, it’s not something that’s in your power, and that means that they have the ability to hurt you. Which makes it hard to open yourself up to someone new, and makes it hard to jump back on the horse, so to speak, and back into the dating pool.

Even if you’ve been single for a while, it can be hard to open yourself up to someone. You’ve adjusted to your life the way it is, you have your friends, your job, your habits, and bringing someone else into that means adjusting. It may mean that instead of Saturday snuggling with your dog, you have date night. It may mean that you have to go out on nights that you’d rather be doing something else to go support someone else or meet his friends. That’s a lot, especially if you’ve fallen into a routine that you’re comfortable with. We all love our comfort zones, but sometimes it’s important to leave it. Sometimes, you have to leave it if you really want to let someone in, and that can be scary, and it can be difficult.

As scary as it is to open your heart again, sometimes it’s just necessary. So next time you meet a cute guy at a bar, swallow your fear, and go say hi. I’m telling you from personal experience, sometimes it can work out in your favor. And yeah, it’s scary to try something new, but you’ll miss every shot you never take. So take a shot, give it a try, and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out, then just tell yourself it wasn’t meant to be. But getting out there, will help you get over the fear of letting people in. Reality is, you’re always going to get hurt if you love someone, but a life without love isn’t worth living.

Fall 2017 Fab Fit Fun Box

Fall 2017 Fab Fit Fun Box

There are very few things I subscribe to. Netflix, FabFitFun, and a few other things are pretty much all I subscribe to. Normally, I wouldn’t have even gotten into the subscription boxes, because they normally are just sample sizes or things I don’t ever use, so I never saw the purpose. I have been getting the Fab Fit Fun box for over a year now, and not only are the products full-size, but they are also things I actually use! For $50 a box, that makes it definitely worth it for me.

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So I decided to give you guys a breakdown of what came in this Fab Fit Fun box.

  1. An adorable gym bag. Mine says “Gym & Juice” and while the other choice is cute, “Will Work Out for Cupcake” I’m pretty happy with mine.
  2. Mohr Charcoal teeth whitener kit. I am super excited to try this, as I’ve been a little bit afraid to try one from the store due to all the chemicals in it. This one is all-natural, so I feel much better about giving it a try. And since I love holiday coffee drinks, I could definitely use a brighter smile.
  3. Trestique lip crayon. It’s a gorgeous pink matte color that is perfect for fall. And you can never go wrong with a dark pink.
  4. Heart shaped jewelry holder. It’s rose gold, keeping it super trendy, and it’s just adorable.
  5. Deco cuticle oil. After my minor hand surgery, my cuticles are a mess. So I am all for something to help them out, especially as weather is supposed to turn colder. Florida girl, remember?
  6. Whish renewing mud mask. I’ve actually never tried a mud mask. Face masks, yes, never mud. So I’m interested to see how many years younger I look after it 🙂
  7. Hot and cold gel pack. Sprain your ankle? Pop this in the freezer, and you’ll be better in no time. Have a horrible backache? Put it in the microwave and relax.
  8. Black B-Low the Belt. It’s super soft, and can be cut to size.
  9. Mer-Sea wrap. It’s super soft, and is large enough to wrap around yourself on chilly plane flights or layer for those snow days I don’t get.

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Excuse the workout attire, I had already fit in my “fit” portion of they day before I opened the box.

As I said before, all of these items are great, but they’re full size! I cannot rave about these boxes enough, I even convinced my co-worker to order one. She is anxiously awaiting her box, so I said I’d share some spoilers here. Definitely look into it, I’ve gotten so many adorable/useful things from this box. Some I love, some are ok, but the point is, I get to really try them out and see if they work for me.

 

The Importance of Being On Time

For anyone that knows me, y’all know I can’t stand to be late. I like to be on time, and it drives me crazy if I’m late to anything. To me, early is on time, on time is late, and late is just completely unacceptable.

Besides me just being a total control freak, I do have reasons for thinking that being on time is super important. I think it ties into what it is you are attending. So for example, being late to work. Yeah, we’ve all done it now and then, but there’s usually a good reason. However, there’s some people who are constantly late to work. I mean, not just like 5 minutes here and there, but like 20-30 minutes late, every single day. That would drive me insane! If you’re leaving 20 minutes late, get up 20 minutes earlier. But especially to your job. They are paying you to show up on time, do good work, and get stuff done. Because of that, you need to be respectful of other people’s time too. So being late to work, that’s a serious no, especially if you have team members who may be counting on you for stuff.

If you’re meeting up with a friend, and you’re running late due to traffic, that’s completely understandable. But if you’re running late because you were busy with other things, you’re sending a message to your friend. You’re saying, “sorry but I was too busy with x, y, and z to make you a priority.” Because yes, when you make a commitment to spend time with someone, you should show up on time and make them a priority at that moment. Now again, medical issues, other things that are completely understandable in taking higher priority, that is completely excusable. But as an example: I used to date this guy who was always late to our dates. And I don’t mean 15 minutes late, I mean he would say he would pick me up at 7, and by 8:30 I would finally get a text that he ran late at the gym. Well, alrighty then, your priorities were made clear to me. The gym was above me. And the saddest part was that I put up with that for longer than I should. It got to the point though, that if he told me a time, I didn’t even start to get ready until then. Because I knew at some point, I would be getting a text that he was running late.

An interview. Obviously, running late to an interview is a serious faux pas. You’re trying to impress these people! You know what isn’t impressive, running late when they’ve carved out time from their busy workday to meet with you, to tell you about the company, and see if you’re a good fit. Running late says that you don’t value their time, and that’s something you never want to tell your potential (or current) employer.

Bottom line: we all are late to things every now and then. Sometimes it’s something we can’t control. My cat randomly puking all around the house, yeah not something I could control, but definitely made me late to meet a friend. Me shutting off my alarm knowing that I have a tennis date in an hour? Yeah, that’s on me when I show up 30 minutes late. So be mindful of that. There’s plenty in our lives we can’t control, but when you get a chance to take over and be in the driver’s seat, take advantage of it. You wouldn’t believe what a good impression being on time can make.

Treat Yourself the Way You’d Treat Others

We all have an inner monologue. Maybe it’s something along the lines of “phew, can’t believe I was first in line at Starbucks” or maybe something a little more mean, “I can’t believe I just said that, what was I thinking.” Some of these inner thoughts are things that we would say out loud and have no worries. In fact, we’d even say it to other people. Other times, what we say to ourselves, is something that we never in a million years would tell someone else. So what makes it ok to say it to yourself?

I’m big on treating yourself the way you’d treat others. Very similar to, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Yet, it’s something we all struggle with. You wouldn’t tell your coworker that their email had a meaningless typo, yet why do you internally nag yourself over it for the rest of the day? You wouldn’t tell your best friend that she’s having a bad hair day, so why do you tell yourself that and lower your own self-esteem? The way you treat yourself is so much more important than some people seem to realize. We all internalize things that we dislike about ourselves, but it’s when we are constantly making snarky comments or thoughts that it becomes a problem.

It’s something we see in society a lot. Someone says “oh my gosh, I’m so fat after that meal.” Yeah, maybe they’re saying it in a joking voice, but in their mind, they could really believe that. They could really be hurting their own self with these negative thoughts and beliefs. And that’s not something you’d say to anyone else. You wouldn’t make that comment period. Yet, we hear it and see it everyday. The problem is, you can’t know for sure how the person saying it really feels. Yeah, maybe they know it’s not an issue and are just joking. But on the flip side, maybe they’ve always been insecure about their weight, and truly think it’s an issue. That’s a dangerous line to walk, and it’s completely unnecessary.

We focus so much on building others up, on being there for someone else, having that positive pep talk to help them out when they’re down. Try giving yourself a pep talk. In the mirror each morning, find some stuff you like about yourself, and focus on that. Don’t focus on the negative, but instead find the positive. Think about how great of a public speaker you are, or tell yourself how you are going to ace that presentation today.

Words can hurt, even when they’re joking and even when directed to yourself. There’s so much negativity directed towards us from others, there’s no need to add to that ourselves. Instead, take a positive approach, and treat yourself how you’d treat others. Kindness is so important, you never know what someone is going through, and what comments can make or break someone’s day.

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