Posted in Books, Personal, Photography, Travel

My Relaxing Escape: Barnes and Noble

Ahh, Barnes and Noble.. the one place (Aside from different cafés, Starbucks, Downtown Chicago, and any arcade place) that I can relax and escape from all of the stresses in life. It’s also where I can come to check out all of the books and stuff that they sell, as well.

20170223_122055Being a huge gaming/anime/manga fan, this is the one place (Aside from comic book stores, and whatever places they sell em at), that I come to check out and read all of the latest manga from. I couldn’t believe that one of my favorite horror game has a manga out!! Let’s just say I was so stoked as I was reading it, lol.

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20170223_122853The views from Barnes and Noble. The closest one to me was in Orland Park, near Orland Square Mall. That’s the one I usually go to, when I’m not in downtown Chicago.

20170223_151241Sadly, I had to leave, cause it was almost time for choir rehearsals, and I needed to get back home (It’s about 30 minutes from my house). I decided to buy two books for now, and two bookmarks. Being a huge book nerd.. it was all worth it.

Hopefully I can finish up A Midsummer Night’s Dream within the next week or two, so I can get started on The Canterbury Tales (Which I haven’t read since high school… man, I kinda feel old, heh).

Posted in Personal

Message From Sparkle

 

 

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“Love big. Play hard & eat dessert. Savor the simple things and don’t worry about the rest. Choose today to be amazing”!

Somehow Sparkle and Bounty paper towels always has the most wonderful printed messages. Each day, take the time to celebrate another day to be alive, cause you never know when it will be your final day here on Earth.

Posted in Events, Personal, Photography, Relationships, Travel

Relieving Anxiety: Taking A Walk Through the City and Lake

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Today was a much needed day outside in the city, all thanks to my Zozo. 🙂

We spent most of our time in the Loop and Lake Shore Drive. We actually went to The Field Museum… a bit too late, cause the door closed at 5, and we got there two minutes before closing. We were kinda bummed, but we decided to go there again this summer.. much earlier than noted.

I ended up feeling really better after talking to Zozo. In fact, my anxiety went away as we talked and walked for the day. It was much, much needed.

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20170218_161353We ended up going through the play garden for the very first time. It look so much fun, but we ended up walking through it while playing Pokémon Go.

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20170218_165448The Field Museum

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20170218_165916From the Museum Campus, the view of the Chicago Skyline is just gorgeous.

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20170218_174721Waiting for the CTA train to arrive.

I found the one thing that makes my anxiety go away, and that is taking a walk downtown and on the Lakefront. Today proved just that, too. I love Chicago Loop, Lake Shore Drive, and most importantly, the love of my life.

Posted in Family, Personal, Relationships

Feeling On The Verge of Failure

What do I have to do in order to overcome this mix of depression and anxiety? What else do I have to do to truly prove to two people that I can stand up for myself? I’m sick and tired of it all. Also, to top it all off…

My anxiety is emerging again. I’m already dealing with a lot of stress, doing my hardest to get my life on track, and to make a better life for Zozo and I. I’m only human, can’t they understand that?

Somedays I just want to move away from it all, and just start all over, and I’m on the verge of doing so… all because I feel like a failure, not only to myself, but to the love of my life. It may seem like I’m not, but it feels like I am.

To my babe, I’m sorry for putting you through this for the past two years. Just at least understand that even though I’ve been doing my hardest to stand up for myself, some people (Like a certain parent) just don’t want to listen. I’m tired of speaking my mind to them. If I have to once again, prove to you that I can stand up for myself (Even if it means cursing both you and the parent out just to get my point across), then so be it. Be warned: It will be the final time I will speak about this. I’m not holding back either.

To the parent, I love you, but this time, it’s my way or the highway. If I have to move out and move on with my babe, or alone… then so be it.

Posted in Holiday, Personal

New Year’s Resolution List: Time to Stick With It

  • “Getting out of debt.
  • Achieving my weight goal.
  • Moving to a new city/state/country.
  • Going back to school.
  • Getting my life back on track.
  • Moving out of my parents’ home”.

…and on, and on.

I’m more than likely sure that these are almost everyone’s goals (..and more) for 2017. Oh, and I know that I’m late, but happy New Year! I really hope everyone had a great new year! As for me, it was great.. went to church with my Mum and soul mate on New Year’s Eve, and went out to eat on New Year’s Day.

Yes, it’s also time (or been time, since I’m like…, 10 days late into the New Year to post this blog post) for the annual New Year’s Resolution list!

For starters, I just wanted to say I’m really hoping that 2017 will be the year that I will accomplish everything on my list. Last year… I kinda accomplished a few things, but most of them were put off, cause I procrastinated A LOT, and also due to situations that were out of my league. However, some of the things on my list will finally come to an end this year, and others… will be set in place and more than likely, accomplished, whether it be this, next, or the following year.

Anyway, I have a lot on my resolutions list, but I’ll talk about the top five that I want to start and/or accomplish this year. Feel free to talk about your top five (or more) in the comments section! 🙂

1. Getting out of debt (..and raising my credit score)

Almost everyone whose into some sort of debt has this goal. Like me, they want to become debt free, so they can have a happy, stress-free life for themselves and their family. I want to become debt free, so I can get my credit score up (That’s also number one on my resolution list) to buy a house (I know in the past I said that I wanted to move into an apartment, but I found out that it’s much more affordable to buy than to rent these days. Also, Touré and I were talking bout it months ago, and we agreed to go with a house instead of an apartment), and other things that would be necessary to buy or rent, that would require a good credit score.

For those who don’t know, or are new to credit scores and whatnot, a credit score of 700+ would be considered good enough to rent an apartment, buy a house, getting a car loan, ect. If your score is between say… 650-699 (I know it’s possibly incorrect, but I’m just going off of the top of my head. I forgot what score it is to be considered “decent” to lenders and whatnot), then you could possibly get away with it, but in some situations:

  • You’re more than likely gonna have to find a co-signer in order to even rent an apartment
  • Pay a higher interest on a credit card, loan, or a car if you’re leasing or paying a car note
  • ..or end up paying a higher percent on a fixed-rate, ARM (Adjustable rate mortgage), or even a jumbo mortgage (I’m still learning more about these types of mortgages and steps to becoming a homeowner, so I may or may not be correct about that).

It would not be a good idea to apply for mortgages, or try to look for an apartment, or even apply for most credit cards, loans, or even a car (New or used, probably) if your credit score is less than say.. 650. You could get a credit card, however, your credit limit won’t be as high as you would want. That said, if you’re starting out, and want to get a high credit score for when you say.. get your dream job (Yes, your credit score does affect you getting a good job), a house (Like me), an apartment, ect., then start out applying for a credit card and whatnot. Be sure to not apply for too many at once.. it will lower your credit score and you will get marks on it too.

…Okay, I’m getting off topic here. Back to my list.

2. Getting a full time job

With my current situation of working part time at a retail store (Yes, working part time can be good, but if you’re trying to earn more income, so you can start building your emergency savings, retirement, or getting out of debt, then it can be bad), the chances of having enough money to pay bills, getting debt down, and still have money leftover to possibly spend (That’s another one on my resolutions list, is to stop spending money on wants) are slim to none. That’s why I’m starting back my job hunt, so I can finally start working full time, and I can start paying off my debt, saving money to invest, put away in savings, and ultimately, so Touré and I can finally move into our first home. Which brings to:

3. Saving money to become a first-time homeowner

Once I get a full time job, I can start saving up for a new home. My ultimate goal is to move out by no later than the end of 2018, early 2019 (If we don’t have enough money to move into a new home by next year, then it’ll be the following year. I hope it’ll be next year, though). I did a lot of research on which locations that we could move to (Based on crime rate and housing), and so far, I found eight places that we could move to (It would’ve been 10, but two of them had tons of houses that were way above our price range, and we’re don’t want to move into a condo… “yet”):

  • South Holland
  • Lyons
  • Hometown
  • Homewood
  • Worth
  • Merrionette Park
  • Bolingbrook
  • …and finally, Oak Forest. Yes, these cities are considered to have low crime rates, based on Areavibes. You can check it out (..and also see where your city or neighborhood stands on the list) on www.areavibes.com

I really want to move close to Chicago (Like say… 15-30 minutes away, at the least. There are a few places that I mentioned above that are close to it), but we might have to stay close to family and friends. Who knows.. we have until the end of next year to really think about it.

4. Going back to school

Originally, I was supposed to go back to school next month, but I procrastinated on getting the paperwork and transcripts done (Also, I’m strongly considering going back by this fall, so I can start finding a full time job at the moment), and like I said before, there were certain situations that were out of my control. I’m gonna get it done as soon as I can.. and as soon as I have the money to get the transcripts.

..and yes, I will stop procrastinating as well this year. Last, but not least:

5. Start investing

Once I get number two out of the way, it’ll connect with my final important goal on my resolutions list, which is to start investing. If I can start before or by the end of this summer, then my goals will be falling into place sooner than expected.

It’s time to get 2017 started on the right track!

Posted in Events, Personal, Photography, Travel

Reliving Childhood Memories: Downey Park

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This week, while I was very busy working my butt off, I finally had a day off. So Tuesday, I decided to check out this old park that I used to go to as a a kid. That park is called Downey Park. A few of the photos that I posted from above is just a few of the several photos that I took that day.

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Before, there were all metal slides, a wobbly merry-go-round (Well, the last time that I was on it), and a tire swing. Now, some of the metal slides were replaced with plastic ones, and the tire swing and merry-go-round is gone. They replaced the tire swing with this:

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They also added a walkway for people who like to walk their dogs along the way and for those who like to walk for exercise. Plus, a few fitness equipment as well:

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Now, some spots haven’t changed a bit, like this:

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There is a baseball field straight ahead, along with some apartments. There is also a tennis and basketball court as soon as you enter the park.

20160524_110252A few of the metal slides still remain.

20160524_110319This part is new

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The swings still remain

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So are the baby swings.

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More small metal swings… Brings back memories.

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That’s where the merry-go-round used to be.., but they took it down.

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There’s the center that my friends and I always go to whenever we want to get some water after playing our butts off. There are two more fountain waters that are there, but one of em is broken. Sometimes the water was better to drink inside the center than outside.

Well…, that was one of the parks that I went to as a kid. It was so good to be back there. Maybe one day soon, I can head there and play there and try some of the fitness equipment there. Next week, I’m gonna head to another park that I went to as a kid, and where I spent my summer at for a few years.

Posted in News, Personal, Relationships, Work

When Life Knocks You Down, Get Back Up

Finally I get a chance to do a huge update on here, and boy… a heck of a lot has been going on since then.

First off, I just wanna say, happy Lunar New Year (Or Chinese New Year, however you wanna say it). It’s the year of the monkey! Also, happy Mardi Gras to you all! I hope 2016 is getting to a good start for all you readers and viewers!

My 2016 isn’t going so good for me so far, but I will say that I am hanging on here. I have been trying to overcome my anxiety issues (It’s slowly becoming obsolete, but I’ve been having a bit of a fall back several times, but I am starting to become stronger as an after effect). As far as Touré and I go, we are actually doing really well, despite all of the recent setbacks that have been occurring as of lately.

This Friday is Touré’s last day of work. The reason being is cause his job is moving to a new suburb, one that is too far for him to get to at this time (Cause he’s still in school, currently). Until he graduates out of college (Which won’t be until the next two years), he’ll be out of a job. It’s been kinda hard on us (Me, actually, cause this is the first that has happened to me.. having my significant other losing his job, cause of situations that are out of his control), but we are actually getting through it. The good news is that he is doing live streaming on YouTube, and he is making some money off of that (Slowly, but surely), so that’s helping him and I out. He is almost to 500 subscribers (He actually calls it his people to entertain), so that’s helping out a lot.

As for me, I’m actually considering transferring to a university and finishing my bachelor’s degree there. Originally, I was gonna become a nurse, but the more I think about it, the more it’s becoming clear to me. Why am I taking one step forward, but a bunch of steps back? I need to get my bachelor’s degree and go on for my MBA, so I can start my career and have a better life for Touré and I (Also, he’s doing the same thing, as well). To be honest, we would like to live in either downtown or the north side of Chicago, but because his job is now going to the Northwest suburbs (..and my job is more than likely gonna be in Chicago), we’re trying to meet in the middle and figure out a solution that will make us happy (Apartment-wise). For now, we’re gonna concentrate on the present, and focus on the important stuff, like ACEN (Ah, Amine Central.. the event that we hope to go to this May, if everything goes through), and to me, finding a full time job and getting back to school.

It has been a huge roller coaster for me this past month, but I am keeping my balance in life, and trying to stay focused on becoming a better and happier me. Less stress, less anxiety, and less crying over stuff that is out of my control. This year, I am gonna fully make that change. Not just for me, but for Touré. By the way, all of these tests and such are making us stronger, not only as a couple, but as individuals. I’m really proud to call him my true soul mate (Also the best boyfriend I ever had as well, and I truly mean it).

Speaking of which, we are actually celebrating our first Valentine’s Day this weekend. Saturday, we are going to Steak and Shake for our Pre-Valentine’s Day date. Sunday, we are going to the movie theater to see Deadpool. I gotta admit, I’m actually excited about Valentine’s Day. All of the other V-Days that I had with my exes.. some were decent, most were bad, but it wasn’t one that I could say that I had the best V-Day ever. I’m hoping that this year I can say that. I will get pictures when that day comes.

I finally took some pictures of when I went to Chicago on Lunar New Year’s Eve that I can post on my photography blog. I will get em posted this week. As far as my fashion and beauty blog.. I have a bit of photos to put on as well. Those will also be posted this week as well.

Anyway, sorry bout the long wait, but like I said before, a lot has been happening in my life as of lately, and it has put me into despair (..and also risen my anxiety levels as well), but now that I am finally feeling better and starting to feel a bit more optimistic about the present day life, I’m  gonna start writing more on this blog. I have a bit of topics that I want to go over as well, but those will be for next time.

Until then, have a great day/night (It is almost midnight, Central time where I live, so I have to head to bed, cause I have work in the evening, and lots of errands to do in the morning)!

Posted in Games, Personal, Relationships

Screw Today’s Society and Their “Rules”

I believe that I made a similar post to this last year, but I decided to talk about it again (If I haven’t already). I hope to make this a part of a vlog on my YouTube channel (I will have Touré be a part of it as well, cause the looks that people are giving us when they see us together.. oh boy, can’t freakin wait to talk bout it).

First off… what inspired me to make this post is due to that fact that Touré was live streaming one of his favorite games, Rocket League, and while he was doing so, he was telling his viewers about a little fact about him and I (The conversation started when I was telling one of my friends about how my ex gave me back my PS2 and such, and it actually went on from there) about our age (Yes, he’s 21 and I’m 26. Bet ya didn’t know that, eh?). Then what fueled the fire was the fact that he told his viewers about how we get looks from people everywhere we go when they see us together. It’s like, they 95% bash him for dating a ‘cute, adorable girl’ like me who looks younger than him, then when they find out about my age, that’s when the whole accusations stop. They’re finally cool with us dating, but still. Oh, and as far as I go, I get the ‘Why tf is she dating a guy like him, who looks like he could be from the streets’’?!’ looks from em.

All of the accusations and I guess you can say… oh, stereotypical thoughts finally subside when they find out the real truth about us:

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1. He’s 21, and I’m 26. Yea, I really don’t look like I’m 26, but hey… looking younger than your real age is a blessing and a curse.

2. We’re a gaming couple. We not only love video games, but we also listen to rock, heavy metal, jazz (Also nighttime jazz), and other types of music, such as from video games and international music.

..and…

3. We are way different than the ‘typical black people’ that most everyone sees now and days (The ones that like to do drugs, gang-bang, listen to today’s rap and hip-hop, those who like to ‘twerk’ and do the ‘whip’ and the ‘nae nae’ and such.. I could go on and on about that. Oh, and did I mention that we’re really intelligent and that one of our main life goals is to become financially stable? That’s something that today’s society doesn’t mention now and days, is the fact that there are black people who are actually intelligent, going to school and getting their education, cause they want to be successful in life. They don’t want to be part of the ‘norm’ that society sees us now and days). We’re not from the streets, nor do we want to be. I can continue on from it, but I’ll stop it right here.

The fact that people are bashing us and giving us negative looks for being different and for how we look is just disgusting beyond belief. I mean, sure I’m from the suburbs and he’s from the city, and he’s Ghanaian and I’m Black, White, Native American, and Asian, but that doesn’t give you the right to tell us that I need to date someone my age, or I need to date someone who’s within my skin color (I believe that’s like the number 2 reason why people look at us in disgust, is cause he’s a darker skin color than me, which freakin urks the crap out of me).

Here’s how the rules of today’s society works (This is just my understanding of it, but your views on it may vary):

1. People who are gay, lesbian, trans, bi, ect. doesn’t belong in this society.

2. If you’re black, you “have” to be part of the ‘norm’ in order to be considered popular, which means you have to smoke, drink, listen and dance to today’s rap and hip-hop, be part of a gang, ect. If you’re against it or if you are different, you are an outcast, and therefore, gonna be made fun of, and so on.

3. If you are light or dark-skinned, and are dating someone from a different race or who is lighter or darker than your complexion (Or if you’re white and are dating a black person, you will get frown upon and bashed.

4. If you are an older woman dating a younger man (Even if you are educated), you are considered a cougar.

5. If you’re black and listen to rock, heavy metal, jazz, international (Such as French, Chinese, Japanese, ect.), techno, ect., dress up like you’re a rocker, cosplay, or wear video games and band shirts, you will get looked at in disgust and talked about by the “normal crowd (Those who sag their pants, wear ridculous outfits that look like you’re from the hood, and listen to nothing but poisoning-induced today’s rap and hip hop)”.

Finally (I can go on and on about it, but I’m not):

6. If you are a man (Sometimes a black man who looks like he’s from the streets or a thug, who actually is just an intelligent, educated guy who’s either living in the suburbs or in a safe place from the the chaos in the state, I.E. someone living on the North side of Chicago, staying away from the South and West sides) and dating someone who looks younger than she really is and/or is cute (Who is also just as smart as you are, and perhaps a gamer girl, ect.), then you are also gonna get bashed on and stared at A LOT.

I think I made my point here today, but before I go, I really need to say this:

Dating someone who’s much younger (If you’re say, 25 and your bf/gf is 18, it’s okay, just as long as you’re not dating a minor) or older than you is okay!

If you’re black and your lover is white (Or vice versa), mixed (Or in this case, a darker or lighter shade of color than you), then that’s okay as well!

Basically put, don’t judge a person (or a couple) by their looks, skin color, or nationality, and also if he/she/they are poor, rich, or whatnot!

F**k today’s society and their “rules”. Also, f**k anyone who doesn’t like Touré and I dating due to our age and such, just cause it’s not “approved for today’s society”. They can look, but they don’t know a beautiful, handsome, mixed couple when they see it.

That’s all I gotta say. End of story.

P.S., A honorable mention go out to Kodzo’s (It’s just my baby’s YouTube name and also his middle name as well. Check out his videos and live stream, and also, subscribe to him as well, cause he does live streams and video of 1080p, 60fps for all of you gamers out there!) live stream of Rocket League: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwS4KSMT9EY (If you want to skip ahead to where he and I talk bout how people gives us looks in a negative way and such, go to 2:46:47). That’s where I got inspired to make this post. I really have to say this from the bottom of my heart: Thank you Touré Apawu for the inspiration and for everything that you have done to and for me!

Posted in Events, Holiday, Personal, Relationships

2016: New Year, New Changes

20160101_000513*Touré and I celebrating New Years together for the very first time. It was a blast!*

I’m making this short and sweet, but I just want to tell all of you viewers and readers Happy New Year to you all! 2016 is finally here, which means new changes and such! For me, it’s all bout major financial planning, budgeting, decision-making, and putting my babe and I’s goal of getting our own apartment into place. So far, I’m actually doing a good job on my goals. I’m starting to resume my job and apartment hunting search, I’m slowly, but surely starting to eat out less and buying more groceries, and Touré and I are starting to build a budget plan together. So far, 2016 is starting to become good.

I really hope that everyone had a good New Year’s Eve and Day! I had to work both those days, but I got off early, which meant that I got to spend time with the babe. Now it’s time to start putting the New Year’s Resolution plans into place.

So here’s to 2016! Let’s make this a good year everyone! *Raises a Starbucks venti hot chocolate in the air*

Cheers!

Posted in Games, Personal, Relationships, Travel

Kodzo and Takeda

Friday afternoons/evenings.. mostly the only day during the week (Unless I have most of the morning/afternoon or day off on the weekend) where I can spend time with the love of my life, Touré, either at my house or his house. I really don’t mind the drive to the north side of Chicago. In fact, despite the traffic (Due to most road construction and typical rush hour traffic, depending on what time you plan to go to or leave Chicago, especially downtown. It’s best to go during the wee hours of the morning, like at 4, 5, maybe even 6 in the morning, or late at night, like at 11 or close to midnight), it’s actually soothing to me, seeing how beautiful the skyline is at night (If the sky is clear, that is), and add the nighttime jazz music… yea, it’s very soothing (If you are patient and not let traffic get to you—like me—that is).

Anyway, last Friday afternoon (Today is Sunday, December 6, and I do count Sundays as the start of a new week), Touré and I decided to hang out as soon as we got off from work (I got off at 4 and he gets off at 5, but because my job and his job is about 40 minutes-almost an hour between each other, depending on traffic, since he works on the west side, and I work down south (I.E. 394, down to Will county almost), it became a waiting game for him, since I had to pick him up from his job. I got there 16 minutes after he got out, due to being stuck in rush hour traffic). We decided to head to his house and to grab something to eat, since we didn’t eat since breakfast.

Once we got to his house (He was tired, and I was severely stressing out due to unexpected bad news that I realized and such. I talked to his Mum about what was going on with me, and she basically gave me some advice and hugged me, which calmed me down), we ate, and went to some stores with his Mum. She brought me a little bracelet (Sparkly, colorful flowers), and I brought some more flare jeans. Touré brought a Hulkbuster figure from Disney Infinity, a hard drive storage for his computer, and a game (Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes). What did I take home with me? A bracelet, some jeans, and a little teddy bear that his Mum brought for him before he was born, that he wanted to give to me out of complete surprise:

20151205_234741Everyone, I’m sure you’ve all met Kodzo (The red dog that I got from my soulmate and his Mum for my birthday), but… meet this little teddy bear, Takeda. I named him Takeda, cause he’s actually one of my favorite Mortal Kombat characters (Next to.. oh say, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Baraka, Princess Kitana, Raiden, ect…). This is the first teddy bear that my soulmate has, before he was born. He decided to give it to me last Friday. I thought it was very, very sweet of him to do that, and with that said, it just not only made me smile extra hard, but it also made me cry on the inside, cause he’s the very first guy that would give him something that is so valuable to him all throughout his life. That made me extremely happy (and it (Along with him) made my stress go away completely).

Mum thought that it was so sweet of him to do that.. she couldn’t stop talking about it for hours at a time. Yea, on the inside, I couldn’t stop blushing and thanking God for having Touré being in my life.. and as my boyfriend). I didn’t wanna leave home, but I had to that night, cause I had to work the next day (Yesterday).

It’s time for me to get some sleep.. Christmas Eve and Day 2015 is gonna be one of the best Christmases in years.. if not, ever! I want it to come so bad.., but I must be patient. Oh well.. off to bed.

Zzz…