Black Hair Magic

[This story is taken from a book I’m self-publishing called ‘Impossible Things.’ The genre is magical realism. Thanks for reading! Full book coming soon. ❤ ]

A short story

By: Ashley Tiara Lilly

Black Hair Magic

It was a hot summer day but the air conditioning was cool. Abigail sat on her bed, flipping through a copy of her favorite magazine while eating from a pack of peach-flavored mints. She was wearing a new pair of denim shorts with her favorite white top that was decorated with lace.

She paused when she saw a picture of her favorite popstar, Daphne Moon, and circled it with a blue pen. Daphne wore red lipstick, a golden, glittery dress, and her smile was bright. What really stood out, though, was her hair, slicked back but still showing off her beautiful curls. Abigail snapped a picture with her smart phone and sent it to her best friend, Jayla, typing,

“Ugh she’s so perfect. Why can’t my hair look like that????”

There was a knock on the door and her mother walked in, carrying a brown box. She shook the box to get her attention, its contents rattling inside. As soon as Abigail heard it, she knew exactly what it was. She hopped out of bed and took the box in her hands, holding it to her chest like a long lost treasure.

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Like this story? Read the rest of it here 🙂

English and Communications Degree: Careers, Grad School, and Finding Your Path

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Figuring out your career path when you have a degree that doesn’t lead to a specific job can be tough. People who study subjects like English, history, philosophy, or general maths and sciences like biology or chemistry are often assumed by others to have limited jobs available to them.

It’s certainly not as straightforward as studying engineering, nursing, education, medicine, law, social work, mental health, or accounting. Degrees that lead to a specific career path take out the guesswork of having to choose a career after graduation. Having a more broad degree still has it’s advantages, however, because you don’t have to feel stuck in one career path.

For creative types, this can be a good thing, because we can get restless, curious, and bored if we feel restricted to one path. I know, this all sounds fine and dandy until you’re left with an empty wallet, no sense of direction, a “useless” degree, and an overwhelming pile of debt. But the truth is, the old mantra they used to tell us in elementary school is true, knowledge really IS power.

All degrees open up doors to more careers and more opportunities. The challenge of carving out a career path when your degree doesn’t lead to a specific job is exactly that, a challenge. Are you up for it? I think you are! Even people who have degrees in accounting or engineering should know that their degree opens MANY doors, not just the one path. Anyone can want a career change in their life at any time, so the truth is, what you study, in many cases, doesn’t matter. Many people end up pursuing careers not related to what they studied.

If you have a degree in English, Communications, or any other liberal arts subject, don’t believe there are no careers out there for you. There are several. Does that mean it will be easy to get started? Not at all. You have to choose a path that’s right for you, and then you have to build your resume up with relevant experience if you don’t already have it. Volunteering for a local nonprofit is probably the best way to do it.

Internships can be good, too, but sometimes you need experience for those, too. Choosing a nonprofit and volunteering with them for at least a year is a great way to gain experience. Try to volunteer doing something related to the career you want. If you don’t know what you want to do, try out a few things within the organization. If you can do this before you graduate, even better.

Building a career is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time, try things, fail, and fail again. It means you’re one step closer to success. If you’re still trying to figure out your career, your not alone. I’m in the same boat, but I know we can do it 🙂 Here are some careers to consider if you have a degree in English or Communications:

Journalist for newspapers, magazines, or blogs

Editorial Assistant

Publicity Assistant

Junior Copywriter

Senior Copywriter

Grant Writer

Fundraiser

Technical Writer

Accounting Clerk

Social Media Manager

Event Planner

Public Relations Specialist

Marketing Assistant

Marketing Manager

Account Executive

Assistant Manager

General Manager

Human Resources Assistant

Administrative Assistant

Medical Receptionist

Executive Assistant

English/Literacy Teacher

ESL/TESOL Instructor

Tour Guide

Art Gallery Associate

These are some of the careers you can consider if you have a degree in English or communications. For some, you may need to learn new skills or get a new certification, but if it’s something you really want to do, it’s more than worth it. You can also consider these subjects for grad school:

English

Creative Writing

Library Science

Media Studies

Education

Literacy and Language

Public Relations

Advertising

The truth is, you can study anything in grad school. Don’t have the prerequisites you need? Go back to community college and take them. That’s not to say that it’s easy, or that taking on more debt or spending more money is a casual decision. But it’s important to realize that you are not limited by your degree. There is nothing wrong with studying something you love. In my opinion, it’s what you should do every time. Follow your bliss.

Building a career is not easy. Having options is great, but you do need to choose a path and you do need to gain experience. The path to gaining experience, interning, or volunteering may seem long, but look at it this way. The time you spend volunteering and learning from experience, is not much different from the time someone else is spending in grad school, med school, or law school. Things take time, and that is okay.

Stay strong and believe in yourself. You have options, you have a future, and you have opportunities. Get out there and find them. I’ll be doing the same. ❤

 

 

What I learned from eating vegan for a day

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Yesterday I decided to eat vegan for the day. This is something I’d thought about doing, eating vegan for a day or a meal, but I didn’t have the tools I needed to get started. I had some inspiration over the weekend after watching a video on YouTube, where one young woman talked about the kinds of plant-based foods she kept in the house. She also talked about how she planned her meals for the week, and based her grocery shopping off of that.

Lastly, she said she would make her meals in bulk so that they would last for a few days. This video really clicked with me, and so the next day, I decided to eat vegan for the day. I had made a list of groceries for breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snacks to really get an idea of what should be on my plate. And that morning I planned out my meals in my journal before I went to get breakfast (Food is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning 🙂 ).

So how did this experiment go for me? Was I able to do it? I did! All my meals and snacks were vegan. I started my day with fruit and peanut butter. For lunch I had brown rice, lettuce, tomatoes, lime, and vegan meatballs from Trader Joe’s. (It helps that I’m a vegetarian, so I already had these things in the house.) For dinner I made tacos with similar ingredients to what I had for lunch. And for a snack I had raisins.

I was aware of the foods that I couldn’t include in this meal plan, like cheese, sour cream, Little Debbie snack cakes, the sliced bread and English muffins we happened to have, honey, and butter. I especially noticed excluding some of these things in my tacos. A part of me was a little bummed out, but another part of me was glad to be eating more raw, fresh food.

I did find myself eating much healthier. I ate more fruits and veggies. Being a vegetarian, usually if a meal has protein, then I feel like I’m all set. But this made me realize I want to include more fruits and veggies in my meals!

Eating vegan certainly doesn’t have to mean missing out on your favorite foods, because there’s veg-friendly substitutes for everything, like cashew cheese, almond milk, etc… However, if you want to try eating vegan for a meal, a day, or longer, I think it’s good to substitute things not only for flavors, but for nutrients. Like if you’re not getting calcium from cheese, be sure to eat lots of dark, leafy greens like collard greens and kale. (For a list of awesome protein sources, see my previous post 🙂 ).

I also recommend planning your meals for the day, it’s super helpful. I think all in all though, be gentle with your relationship with food. You don’t have to be perfect. Just remember that it’s all about taking small steps to take care of yourself. Celebrate those small steps, and love yourself. You are good enough!!

So what are my take-aways from all of this? Do I plan on going vegan anytime soon? Probably not. But I do want to plan out my meals some days. I already planned mine for today. This is about progress, not perfection. I also want to add more fruits and veggies to my meals for sure. And I want to include more plant-based foods in my diet. This was a nice, little experiment.

Just to reiterate, always educate yourself before making changes to your diet, whether it’s for a day, a week, a few months, or longer. The key is to have balance and to show your body some love by giving it the proper nutrients it needs ❤

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful day, Lovelies. This girl’s gonna go eat!! 🙂

xoxo.

Plant-based diet

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I want to incorporate more plant-based meals into my lifestyle. I’m already a vegetarian, but I want to eat more organic, fresh foods. Right now my ideal meal plan for breakfast includes fruit, like bananas, plums, peaches, and cherries, oatmeal, cashews and mixed nuts, peanut and almond butters, and maybe on occasion spinach with apples, berries, and sliced almonds.

For lunch and dinner, I’d like to have healthy grains, like brown rice, quinoa, and whole grain bread, muffins, and crackers. I want to include more veggies, like sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, and corn, and great sources of protein like chickpeas, red beans, black beans, nuts, seeds, peas, quinoa, chia seeds, and sun-dried tomatoes. For snacks, I wanna keep dried fruit handy, as well as dark chocolate.

Like any lifestyle, I think it’s important to be relaxed and not put too much pressure on yourself to be “perfect.” But educating yourself and making small choices each day makes a big difference over time. I find that planning my meals for the day, and maybe even for the week, especially when it’s time to buy groceries, can be a great way to achieve small goals.

Life is a journey, and doing small things to take care of yourself along the way tends to feel really good 🙂 Even the things you achieve today are worth celebrating ❤