A Letter To My Cousin

A Letter To My Cousin

Sometimes the best things in life are given to you.

People say that we start and end with family. In the end, it is your family that will be there to support you no matter what. My dad always said that your family members are your biggest fans, and he couldn't be more right.

Sometimes we don't know how lucky we are. I came to this realization when I was listening to the radio and the popular song, "See You Again," came on: How can we not talk about family when family is all that we got? The lyrics struck me in a weird way, and I started to really think about my cousin. I am so lucky to be able to call one of my family members, not only my cousin, but also my best friend.

This is an open letter to my best friend, thanking her for all the memories, laughs, and support throughout my life.

Dear Cousin,

I don't think I've ever taken the time to thank you for all the things that make me lucky to call you my best friend, and I don't think I will ever be able to. But here's a start:

Thank you for being born 19 years ago and giving me a built in bestie.

Thank you for enduring, and even encouraging, my Dylan Sprouse obsession.

Thank you for filling me in on all the family gossip.

Thank you for sitting by me at every holiday dinner at Grandpa's house.

Thank you for all the countless trips up North.

Thank you the numerous photo shoots we had, just to find a new profile picture.

Thank you for loving me when I loved gauchos.

Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on during the loss of family members.

Thank you for teaching me that boys suck.

Thank you for making the drive to my house all those nights.

Thank you for introducing me to pistachio ice cream.

Thank you for helping me annoy all of our older cousins.

Thank you for not making fun of me when I knew zero lyrics to a song, but chose to sing along anyway.

Thank you for laying on the beach with me with me even when your skin started to blister.

Thank you for accepting that my wardrobe consists solely of leggings.

Thank you for making me laugh until it hurt.

Thank you for letting me stand on the right side of every photo because you knew it was my “good side."

Thank you for surprising me with a visit at college.

Thank you for being my date to formal.

Thank you for sharing my love for bacon.

Thank you for staying in with me when everyone else was old enough to go to the casino.

Thank you for accepting that we will be late to everything when we are together.

Thank you for reassuring me that we will be each other's maids of honor.

Thank you for always bringing cornbread to family functions.

Thank you for accepting that my room will never be clean to your standards.

And, thank you for being you. I can't imagine my life without you.


Cover Image Credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/14416950

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:” Line Matters,

I want to start off by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can’t afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you’re just lazy and you “don’t feel like it”? Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you’re unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the US Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck.” stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:” line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can’t seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to ten people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!”

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the seventeen other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there’s a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 dollar bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of ten times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession - whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food, and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a forty dollar bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes - as if you’re better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you’ll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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The 5 commandments of drinking

My favorite time of day is happy hour!


Whether your choice of drink is a shot of tequila, a fine bottle of wine or some local beer, you should always try to adhere to these five choices that your body, mind, and soul will thank you for in the long run.

1. Know your limit.

One of the most important things you should remember when you're out drinking is knowing your limit and pacing yourself accordingly. First off, every individual's consumption limit is different. The limit typically depends on a range of factors. (i.e. height, sex, weight, etc.) This should be taken into account as well as the duration you will be drinking. Determining your blood alcohol tolerance can prevent you from getting too drunk or even worse, blacking out. Blacking Out is a phenomenon caused by an excessive intake of alcohol which causes an individual to not recall a period of time. Imagine having the best night out with your friends and not being able to remember any of it the next day. How tragic. I'd suggest if you're still trying to figure out what exactly your limit is, to take it one drink at a time.

2. Drink plenty of water.

You should always drink water no matter what! Water is your best friend, okay? Alcohol usually has the effect of depleting water from your body and the chances of being dehydrated are more likely. Drinking water in-between drinks will prevent hangovers, keep you hydrated and will help you from getting way too drunk for your liking. From my understanding, people typically drink to have some fun, socialize, or whatever it may be; but I think we can all fully agree, nobody drinks to feel immensely sick.

3. Don't drink on an empty stomach.

If you love yourself, please don't drink on an empty stomach. Remember to always eat something before you drink. Something is always better than nothing and your body will thank you for it. When you decide to drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol will absorb much quicker throughout your bloodstream and into your vital organs. Sure, you'll become intoxicated faster but the chances of becoming sick also highly increases––almost a guarantee. You could black out, do something incredibly stupid, or even vomit bile. Bile is a fluid that is made in your liver, stored in your gallbladder, and travels through your small intestine for digestion. These are the organs affected most when you're drinking, as well as your brain. Vomiting bile typically happens on an empty stomach and is far worse than vomiting regularly for the reasons that it's far more painful in your abdomen, sour taste in your mouth, and has you feeling nauseous for what seems like forever. I for one can vouch that this is the worst feeling in the entire universe.

4. Always be aware of your surroundings.

This one is for both the guys and gals out there. I'd like to believe the world is a nice place where I can enjoy a night out with my friends, have a drink, and not have a care for the world for once, but that's not always the case. My rule of thumb is to always be aware; whether it's out at a club, house party, or small get together with friends, anything can happen. You should always remember that no one is going to be there for you more than yourself, especially if you've had a few drinks.

5. Don't drink and drive.

I cannot emphasize this enough––please do not drink and drive. Do not drink and drive for your sake or anyone else's. If you're planning on drinking and you know you'll be in a situation where you're incapable of driving home later, plan accordingly. If you even have to question at any point in time if you are capable of driving, just don't do it. There's an abundance of choices who are more than willing to help you if this happens. (i.e. Designated driver, Lyft, Uber, Taxi, etc.) Anything is going to be better than getting behind a wheel when you're intoxicated. You may think that at the time you're capable of driving but the alcohol in your system gradually affects your impairment over time. Sure, your blood alcohol content may read that you're legally able to drive at this time, but as soon as you drive down the road you may be drunker than you were initially. Don't be stupid. Don't become another statistic. Don't become the reason for an accident. Don't risk the chance of injuring yourself or even worse, death.

You should always drink responsibly! Of course, have fun and do your thing, but take the necessary precautions to prevent yourself from doing anything you may regret for the rest of your life.

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