Open Letter to My Sister!

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   This is a letter, well more like quick blurbs, for my sister who has just completed her first week of high school! I know what you’re thinking: BIG age difference…yep! My mom is bad-ass and had Madison just a few weeks before her 41st birthday! So here it goes Sis…

Madison, 

I love you so much girlie! I look at you and see greatness. This is going to sound so cliché but seriously, you can do whatever you put your mind to…& when you do, I know you WILL kick ass at it! Baby girl, you can become a real #bossbabe. I see it! 

Please, understand that you have a support team like no other around you! I will be your number one cheerleader, ALWAYS. I want only the best for you! My biggest hope: Believe in yourself and let your light shine through no matter what! The world is ready for you and all your talents!

 I know that some of the advice I give you below will be like, “duh!”, but as your big sister, I have to say it. As always, I’m going to be blunt with you because you deserve real ness not fluff. I want you know exactly where I stand, I have your back, I’m an open book, and you can talk to me about anything!


So here is goes…. Welcome to High School!

My first advice:
1.) Don’t have sex in high school. You won’t remember it when you’re 30. It’s not worth it. Save yourself.

2.) Ask me anything … I’m here for you. I’ll NEVER judge you.

3.) Don’t do drugs… you don’t know your body well enough yet! I never did drugs in high school, and I was still considered “cool”…whatever that means lol… I didn’t drink either & no one ever pressured me. They may have asked but I’d always say no. No biggies, they’d just walk away. REMEMBER most High Schoolers are selfish, so the less they have to share, the better. It was very easy to say no and move on. Never feel pressured, but if you do, text me and I’ll come get you. Plus, give you a bad ass excuse to give to everyone on why you have to leave. No one will question you.

4.) If it’s not me you call when you are in a jam… then give our parents a little credit and call them. They love you and would do anything for you.

 5.) Save your money. Spend our parent’s. SERIOUSLY…. SAVE YOUR MONEY as much as possible during these next four years and even into college.

6.) Don’t limit yourself to hanging out with just one group of friends in high school. Have as many friends and associates (learn the difference) from as many cliques as possible. Be cool with everyone… even the people you think you have nothing in common with… Be kind.

7.) Don’t give attention to people who are negative. You don’t need that drama in your life!

8.) Remember: HATER’S GONNA HATE

9.) Try as many new things as possible.

10.) Life is damn good! It won’t always feel like it, but I assured you it will always get better. On the days that seem like life sucks, remember that. Give thanks to the Lord for waking you up every day and appreciate your blessing.

11.) If you tend to be shy, try your best to overcome your shyness. Take it one step at a time, but work on it. It’s a gift to get to know new people, especially those who are different from you. Get out of your comfort zone. Doing this may feel weird at first, & you probably won’t want to do it, but believe me the benefits are everlasting.

12.) Work your ass off in school. Make the best grades possible… but still have FUN!

13.) REMEMBER: God made no mistakes when he made you!

14.) Mom is almost always going to be right…#FACTS

15.) Don’t worry about getting a boyfriend. They’re worthless and quite frankly a waste of time in high school! Have fun with your girlfriends. Guys should just be an accessory/used for pure entertainment. Entertainment that you and your friends allow around sometimes for giggles.

16.) Be yourself. Do what feels right to you. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing

17.) Baby girl, keep reading. Don’t stop being a bookworm… I love that about you.

18.) Learn how to do your own hair and makeup in under 20 minutes. This is a skill every women should master!

19.) Take lots of photos and record as many videos as possible. Save and print them, because soon these moments will just become memories.

 20.) Love yourself. Respect yourself. Educate yourself.

Madison, you rock. Now, it’s time to really show the world who you are and what you are capable of. Some people will be able to hang and others will wont, and you know what; that is ok! I want you to stay humble, be kind, get involved, make new friends, try new things, slay in fashion, be a #bossbabe, and be too busy to worry about anything but enjoying life!


Love you little sister!

You’re big sis,

Alysha

xoxo

@discovercharmcity

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Date Ideas: The Day Date

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Baltimore / Dating / food / Foodie / Friends / Lifestyle / Love / Uncategorized

day date pic

Tired of the hearing or saying the same ole line- “Hey lets meet at…or Let’s grab a drink at…” insert bar or restaurant name when it comes to going out on a date? Don’t worry you’re not alone! Are you finding yourself looking for something fun to do on a date or even just something different to do with your friends but having a hard time? I know it can be difficult to come up with a unique date ideas on the spot, I struggle with it too, so I decided to come up with a short list of date ideas (today I will give you 3, I have many more and will post again soon.) These are dates that I’m even going to be checking off my to-do-list. Read the date description below, and I’m sure something will catch your eye.

History Lesson
1.) Head over to Fort McHenry  for a tour and then a picnic out by the water. The tour is actually very interesting. You learn a lot about Baltimore and how involved our city was in helping gain our Independence. It’s pretty cool. You and your date will have a lot to talk about as you walk through the fort and then the picnic to end the date will be awesome. Grab a blanket, maybe a card game, and something yummy to eat, and I guaranteed your date will be impressed.

AVERAGE COST OF THIS DATE: Fort McHenry Tour: $20 ($10 per ticket) Picnic ~ Whatever you buy/make will determine that cost.

Be a Tourist
2.) Make a day of hanging out in Mt. Vernon. My next date is going to be just this: Start a Spirits for champagne or a bottle of wine & some chit-chat. Spirits has a cozy sofa perfect for that. The staff is very helpful and can steer you in the right direction if your looking to pick something special! After getting a little bubbly in your system, then I suggest walking to The Walters Museum. It’s one of my favorites in the city. You will have a lot to talk and laugh about if you keep it light and fun while looking at all the artwork. Once you’re over touring the museum (you’ll know when your over it), head over to Dooby’s for lunch. If it’s nice out, grab your lunch and walk back to the park “the square” under The Washington Monument  to eat outside. Don’t get to full because then your going to work that lunch off by walking to the top of the Washington Monument! It will be worth it. The view is beautiful. You may even get a kiss at the top if your lucky! If not a kiss, at least you will be able to snap a few great pics of the city. FYI check out the Mount Vernon Place website because they have tons of events that would make perfect date nights! After you have come back to solid ground, if you guys aren’t ready for the day to end you can always walk over to the The George Peabody Library  . Click the link and you’ll see exactly why I say to go visit the library. It’s breathtaking. Hours are interesting for the library, so definitely check the website for hours of operation. You may have to switch and go to the library first and the museum last depending on what day your date will be.

AVERAGE COST FOR THIS DATE: Spirits ~ Depends on what bottle you choose. The Walters Museum ~ Donation Based (please make a donation) The Washington Museum ~ $12 ($6 per ticket) Dooby’s ~ Lunch for 2ppl ~ $30 Peabody Library ~ I believe Donations (If so, please donate)
3.) This next date in my opinion should be done early on a Sunday morning… #easylikesundaymorning Grab breakfast at Dovecote Café  You will enjoy food, atmosphere, and beautiful artwork displayed on the walls. You can either take the short walk over to The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Gardens or drive. The building is gorgeous and the plants are equally as gorg! Play around, talk about the plants and take tons of pics! When you go early, you’ll probably have the place to yourself which makes it even better. After your fun roaming around the conservatory, you can head over to the zoo (short walk)  and kick it with the animals.

AVERAGE COST FOR THIS DATE for 2ppl: Dovecote ~ $25 (coffee and breakfast) Peters Rawlings Conservatory ~ Donation (please donate) Maryland Zoo ~ $40 (plan for extra if you plan to purchase anything inside the zoo)

I hope this helps you with your upcoming date!

Until next time…

xoxo

@discovercharmcity

Alysha

15 Things You May Not Know About Me!

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15 things about me

Ugh ok, so I know this post is like the most basic thing ever, but most bloggers do something like this on their page, so I guess it’s time for me to knock it out too!

 Let me start off with the fact that I love when I meet new people and they say things like “ I feel like I know everything about you” because they may follow on IG or the blog… but little do they know, I’m so much more that my social media and don’t post everything. I mean really, I don’t, because I would hate to bore you. If I did, you all would be disappointed because you’d see a lot of napping and crazy dog shenagians!

 Well on to it…below are 15 things about me you may not know.

        1.)    I love tortilla chips and any type of dips! I am a huge dip fan. I’m the girl at the party standing by the  food holding deep conversation, but never taking my eyes off the dip!

2.)    Guilty Pleasure: I love celebrity gossip! I don’t subscribe or buy gossip magazines, but sometimes I’ll pick the longest line in the grocery store to stand in so I can get my fix and flip through all the trashy mags!

3.)    I barely watch any new tv series. I am stuck in the past. I’m a Frasier, Golden Girl, Seinfeld, Old Black Sitcoms, family 80’s-90’s television kinda girl.

4.)    I am a Scorpio. I am very loyal, passionate, and stubborn when it comes to certain things.

5.)    I love spicy food!

6.)    I have a little sister that is 17 years younger than me! I was a senior year in High School when she was born! My mom was turning 41 years old! My mom is a #BadAss

7.)    I love watching and reading anything that deals with food and travel!

8.)    I cry a lot during movies and tv shows. I have a problem with putting myself in the person’s shoes. I get all emotional. I am glad Aaron (my bf) doesn’t poke fun. He just comforts me even though it’s not real and there’s no reason for me to be crying lol.

9.)    I am a savory girl over sweets. I can do without dessert.

10.) Deep down I am a messy person, but I force myself to keep things tiddy.

11.) I have a weakness for Royal Farms Chicken.

12.) I am weird about sauces. I am very particular about how much sauce can be on any given thing I eat. My bf use to look at me crazy but now he totally understands and just goes with the flow. He even knows how to order food for me now!

13.) I love to sing…but I’m bad at it. That doesn’t stop me though lol *Kanye Shrug*

14.) I believe I only have one good side… and it’s my left side. So if we are every in a situation where we have to take a picture together, just know I am going straight for the left side!

15.) About six months ago I wanted to delete DiscoverCharmCity all together…but I didn’t.  I’m glad I decided to continue pushing through and embraced it. I finally am accepting that DiscoverCharmCity is important, and hopefully helping people get out and explore Baltimore even more. #StepOutOfYourComfortZone

 

Until Next Time,

 

xoxo

 

Alysha

 

@DiscoverCharmCity

 

D.I.Y Gift Ideas Using Mason Jars

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Baltimore / Beautiy / DIY / Family / food / Friends / Gifting / Lifestyle / Uncategorized

Gifting D.I.Y Mason Jars are my favorite! They’re fun, personal, affordable, and totally adorable!

You don’t have to be a super creative, crafting wizard either to complete this DIY project. These jars are very simple to assemble. All you need is a mason jar, ribbon, and maybe a label. These may look fancy, but I assure you, there’s nothing fancy happening over here!

My favorite: THE SPA KIT

KARENS

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Don’t Sweat the Small Things…My Happiness Project

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For the second time, I am reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This time around I am actually implementing a few tips she learned along her happiness project into my everyday life to help me feel happier, and not get as irritated about the little things. Understand, I am very happy with my life…but just like Gretchen, she just believes she can be happier and more appreciative of the awesomeness around her. Want more? Click to continue reading!

The Count Down Begins…

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I can’t even believe that the time has come… I am turning 30 years old in less than 8 short weeks. It’s time to say goodbye to my 20’s. So much has happened over the last 10 years of my life that honestly the details of it all… I remember very little. I mean I have great memories, but really just tidbits. My God, the past decade came and went so fast! Now on to my 30’s we go…
What does being thirty even mean?


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DIY: Chic Bar

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Baltimore / decor / DIY / Lifestyle / Uncategorized

I’ve always wanted to have a chic little bar situation going on at my house, but I never actually committed to purchasing one. Recently, during the process of moving and designing my new space, I knew it was now or never! Having a bar area designated in the home was a must! You’d think finding a bar cart would be pretty easy. WRONG! Either the carts were too small, too expensive for no reason, or simply wasn’t my style. I search high and low, retail, craigslist, and vintage shops… & I came out empty handed.

I’d been in my new place for almost two month & I still had nothing! Enough was enough. I had to make a decision on something. Finally, decided I needed to be a little creative. “Alysha, it’s not that difficult.” I’d tell myself; & it wasn’t.One day, I was walking the aisle of Target (the devil) & it dawned on me that I should just use a bookshelf as a bar. Well, it didn’t exactly happen like that… I was walking the aisle of target, I saw a sale sign on a white bookshelf that was $63 bucks and I couldn’t pass it up. I randomly remembered seeing on HGTV.com how they turned a white bookshelf into a bar, and that was good enough for me! It was way better than spending $200-$300 on a bar cart that I wasn’t  in love with.


I already had a few bar essential to create an awesome bar, but I did purchase a few items and even now I am still purchasing items for the bar. It’s a project that continues to get better with time. The more bottles collected, along with bar tools the better the bar begins to look and function.
Here’s what I began with:

-Wine Rack $20

– Wine Glasses $12

-Wooden Tray $35 (Honestly, I could have gotten a piece of wood copped, sanded and made in to a beautiful wooden tray, but I am impatient, so I just purchased it lol)

-Candle $9 (added color)


-Bar Sign $17

-Wall Art $60

I’m very happy with the results and even more excited about the hundreds saved!


Have any of you made your own in-home bar? If so let me know how you did it 🙂

Until Next Time…

Alysha

xoxo

@DiscoverCharmCity

#FlicksFromTheHill Summer 2016 Movie Series: Guide to Preparing the Perfect Evening Picnic

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Thursday July 7th, is the first night of: “Flicks from the Hill” Summer 2016 Movies Series presented by American Visionary Art Museum. If you haven’t experienced this outdoor movie extravaganza, TONIGHT is your chance! We are all in for a treat, because the 1st movie of the summer series is: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!!!!! One of my personal favs!

This being the 1st SUMMER movie event being held in Federal Hill Park this year, I am sure there will be a good amount of newbies coming to “the hill” for the first time. Here is a easy guide to help YOU PREPARE for a simple, but perfect picnic for your friends and family.
BE EARLY – Movie begins at 9PM, but you want to make sure to get to Federal Hill Park early to get a spot and set up. I suggest being at least an hour early. Also, remember the museum is open FREE to the public tomorrow night from 5PM-9PM. This is an awesome opportunity for you to roam the museum and see all the cool exhibits.

Bring a picnic Blanket – The more cushion, the better. Don’t be scared to use an old comforter you may have around the house somewhere. Its not a big deal if it gets a little dirty from food or a wine spill….its called a washer machine for a reason 🙂 Also, Lawn chairs are allowed at this event.


Camera – Yes, its great that we have smart-phones now that we can use to snap pictures, but if you have a “real” camera (digital or film), why not pull it out and bring it to the picnic. Snap some awesome pics of your friends and family enjoying the last days of summer. Plus, you can use that camera to take fabulous photos of Downtown Baltimore from the park, it’s an AMAZING view!

Pets- Dogs are welcome at this event. You know if your dog can handle the people and food being around or not.
Easy Foods To Eat- I love to cook, but if you don’t feel like preparing food, why not just order and pick up dinner for Flicks on the Hill?!?! Honestly, I suggest ordering take out and just bring it to the park. Even stopping at a sub shop or making your own sandwiches is a great idea. Keep it simple. Around 9PM when the movies begins it will be dark. You want to have food items that are easy to grab.

Examples of fun food options:

1.) Order a couple of boxes of PIZZA- yum!


2.) Grab Chiplote for everyone.

3.) Sushi


4.) Subs

5.) Chinesse Take-out

6.) Salad’s from a salad bar at the grocery store or restaurant.

Oh yeah! DON’T FORGET THE POPCORN


Wine! Wine is always a good idea.


(Picture from previous #FlicksOnTheHill Movie showing)
SOMETHING SWEET- Cookies, cupcakes, cake, candy, & chocolate.

Essentials- Water, napkins, plates, utensils, corkscrew, garbage bag.

Sweater/Light Jacket- Even though it’s summer, at night the temperature may fall and it may become chilly outside. I attended flicks on the hill last summer, and I was cold once the sun set! I saw others putting sweaters on and wrapping their blankets around the bodies because of the chill. Just a suggestion for ya!

Have fun tonight!

Also, I’d like to know your opinion! Please leave what you think are picnic essentials/ suggestions in the comment box!

Until Next Time,

xoxo

Alysha

@discovercharmcity

Charming Love… Finding Love in Baltimore

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Baltimore / Friends / Lifestyle / Love / Uncategorized

I’ve been living in Baltimore for about 4 ½ years now and still loving it, but there was a time I got a little nervous thinking I’d have to leave Charm City if I ever wanted to date again…


I’ll explain…

My ex and I broke up over a year ago, it was difficult, but looking back now it was definitely for the best. I learned a lot about myself and even more about what I wanted/needed out of a relationship. Once I gave myself plenty of time, I got back in the dating game.

Boy-Oh-Boy it was definitely an interesting time. Some dates were lovely, other people were quite honestly just shitty human-beings and after 30 minutes of interaction, I just wanted to high-tail it out of there!

All my girlfriends had already jump on the bandwagon, using online services and apps to find men around Baltimore. I just couldn’t do it, nothing wrong with dating sites, I’ve just never used one (except playing around on my friends, which is fun!) and it seemed overwhelming.


I’m still old school and believed someone would ask me out while I was shopping at the grocery store, or maybe a friend would introduce us, or my dream guy would be sitting across from me at a café and he’d strike a conversation up with me and BAM we’d be inseparable from that date forward

Sounds good right?!?!

Did the old school method work for me? Well, kind of, but not exactly how I imagined.

Let’s see…how to explain …interesting story but we won’t go into all details because like all love stories it a LONG one, but I did meet Aaron through a new friend I had made at a cookout in May 2015.

I was out at Bookmakers in Federal Hill one night with the new friend I had just made the week prior and he invited Aaron to meet up with us. Aaron walked through the door and I was totally into him right away. His personality was so magnetic. He walked into the room with a presence of “I’m here, let the fun begin!”


Summer came and went, I saw Aaron a hand full of times in group settings and oddly we would sometimes end up meeting up in Fells Point to hang out randomly without the group. We never dated or talked about the possibility of liking one another but I liked him a lot & I loved the friendship that was developing.

Fast forward to October. Aaron finally gave me a direct indication that he wanted something more from us in an Uber ride home after hanging out with a group of friends. I was shocked, but in a good way. My heart filled with joy and I thought this was it!

Picture taken the night things changed between us.

But it wasn’t…we didn’t move forward, Aaron and I didn’t have a happily ever after. We had kinks to work out.

But, finally in December we were officially together.

We are six months in…. now what?


Our relationship isn’t perfect. We’ve had plenty of ups and down, misunderstanding, ex issues, time management issues, & the list goes on…but THIS relationship is totally worth it. We both want it to work.

I am in a relationship with my dream dude.


Yes, I know it may sound corny, I don’t care!

As I’ve gotten older, my list has of must-haves has gotten shorter. Not that I’ve lowered my standards…NEVER THAT! I have real non-negotiables and they are legit the other stuff can be worked out.

For example, I realized that dating someone who doesn’t live in Baltimore wasn’t going to work. I tried, but it’s not for me. I have to be with someone who loves and appreciates Baltimore. A person who doesn’t plan on leaving Baltimore any time soon, because leaving Bmore is no where on my radar right now. I have to be with someone who accepts me where I am in my journey to becoming a better person and wants to grow together. Aaron gets it.

Aaron was born and raised right here in the city, he loves this place, and he has built, along with his awesome partners, an amazing toting company right here in the city, Treason Toting Company.

He makes me laugh, treats me well, he gives me major affection constantly, even though I am not the most affectionate person back, but he knows I need that affection daily. Aaron is very smart, a hard worker, family man, and above all, he is kind. He understands that without the Lord nothing in this life we live would be possible. He is my best friend. I love him and excited to see what the next six months hold. Discovering more and more about each other every day has kept us busy while discovering this Charm City’s hidden gems.


Only advice I can give you about finding charming love is to be patient. However you decide to get out there and meet new people, do it with optimism even if the last 5 dates sucked. Don’t settle. Re-evaluate yourself. Seriously, look in the mirror and make sure you worthy.

Be honest with yourself.


Until Next Time,

Alysha

@DiscoverCharmCity

xoxo

Photo Credit: Most of the pictures where captured by a dear friends.

Follow @djimpulse on IG and the lovely @corecreativeco Thanks guys!

Whoof! My name is Madonna!

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adventure / Baltimore / Family / Lifestyle / Uncategorized

DiscoverCharmCity has a new member of the family! So excited to introduce this beauty! She is a healthy 3 year old retriever/ lab mix from BARCS Animal Shelter!

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Hi! My name is Madonna!

This has been a long time coming. If you’ve been following DiscoverCharmCity for a while you may be wondering, ” Where is your other lab, Monty?” Well, let me make a long story short, my ex boyfriend and I adopted Monty together from Paws for Life, a wonderful dog shelter in Chesapeake City, about 2 years ago, but when we broke up about a year ago and we decided that Monty would stay with him. I know he is being loved and taken care of, but it was and still is devastating:(

Fast forward to now, a year later, I knew I was ready  to adopt again and the search was on!

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I knew I wanted to adopt. No shade towards anyone who goes to a breeder, but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing that there are so many dogs right here in my community that need a happy home.

So you think you’re ready to adopt?

One tip I have for a person who is considering adopting… be patient. You may not connect with a dog/or cat the first  time you go to visit a shelter.

I surely didn’t.

I went back to the BARCS three times before I committed to a dog, but once I saw Madonna, it was LOVE at first site. She jumped in my lap as the match-maker was trying to take her back to her crate and from that interaction, I just knew she had to come home with me.

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After making the decision that I wanted Madonna, BARCS would allow me to take her home the very next day. So that’s what I did. The next day I showed up at BARCS & was very excited! I went to pick her up and I was nervous. Its totally normal to be nervous, especially because of the unknown, plus owning a dog is a huge responsibility.

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Tip number two. YOU MUST BE COMITTED. Really think about what it means to own a pet. For example, I am constantly out-and-about, so I REALLY needed to consider how this would effect my time. In the end, I decided that I was up for the challenge!

Having Madonna leave BARCS to go to her forever home with me made me so incredibly happy. I’ve made a vow to make her life as fun as possible while she is here on this earth. She is a gift from God that will help me appreciate the little things in life just a little more.

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My new sweetheart

Until Next Time,

xoxo

@DiscoverCharmCity

Alysha