To The Little Girl Who Isn't So Little Anymore

To The Little Girl Who Isn't So Little Anymore

You aren't the same little girl who thought boys had cooties.

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Dear Yadi,

This is the year you turn 15 and as I look back at our time, I see how much you have grown.

You aren't the same little girl that I would babysit and play movie theater with. You aren't the same little girl who thought

boys had cooties. But, some things never change. You are still my baking buddy for the holidays. You still make

me laugh with all of your weird quirks. You still love to read as much as you did when you were little.

And you will always be my Yogurtopia crepe queen! I still remember when you were so tiny I could carry you in my arms.

I am so proud of the person you are becoming. I admire your passions in life and how caring you are towards others.

As you grow up, I hope you never stop reaching out to me when you need advice. I hope you never get too old for

our baking craziness. You have become like a little sister to me. I thank God every day that your mom and your dad met

because if they hadn't, I wouldn't have you. We went from painting pictures to taking them.

We went from eating yummy treats to baking them. Some of our favorite memories happened in the

kitchen. Whether it be your questionable ugly sweater Christmas cookies or the mess that we made with icing. We have

an abundance of memories that could never be put into words because as we once said: "you just had to be there."

Our most recent family vacation was one for the books. Do you remember the time I made a movie theater stand when I

was babysitting you and Yese. Babysitting the two of you didn't even feel like babysitting because you guys were so

fun to be around. It is never a dull moment with you two.

I hope this year brings you an endless amount of happiness. I hope it brings you laughs and smiles.

I am so happy you chose me to be one of your godmothers, it is an honor. So yeah, a lot has changed since we were

younger. A lot has evolved and there is a lot unknown, but that's okay. I know growing up isn't as exciting as you

thought it would be, but its time. Growing up doesn't have to be that bad. Although growing up means more

responsibilities, it also means more freedom. More freedom to go to Yogurtopia, or spend the entire day at the library,

or spend your paychecks on new book series or on food. If you decide to, pretty soon you will be headed off to

college and I can't wait to see who you become. I know you were born to make a difference in the world, but it

is up to you to figure out what that is. Until then, enjoy life. Go out and have fun or stay home and read a book or

catch up on some shows. But whatever it is you do, enjoy it. Life is too short to not enjoy every moment.

And as your 15th birthday approaches, I hope you know I am here for anything you may need.

Love, Ange

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8 Reasons Florida Is Actually Great And Not The Crazy Citrus Farm You Probably Think It Is

Yes, I may be a native, but Florida really is the best!

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Growing up, I never understood why my parents decided to move to Florida. Everywhere else seemed to have cooler things like... well... snow. But since I've moved away, I have grown to love my home state and all it has to offer — aside from those crazy news headlines.

Sure, we might not have seasons and mosquitoes make up the majority of our population, but I'm here to tell you that the "Sunshine State" is a great place to be!

1. Sunshine!

Sunset on Captiva Island, FL

Bridget MacPherson

It isn't called the Sunshine State for nothing. The tropical air really is the selling point for most everyone living on the peninsula. When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than a white snowy winter, but now that I have lived through one, I can safely say I prefer the warmth to the tundra of winter.

2. Beaches

Sunset on Captiva Island, FL

Bridget MacPherson

Going hand in hand with sunshine are the beaches of Florida. Now, I am partial to the gulf coast, but truthfully, both coasts offer some incredible beaches with shells and surf galore.

Although I love a day in the sand, I would have to say that my favorite beach activity is watching the sunset. I don't know if it's just me and my own Floridian bias, but I have never seen sunsets quite like the ones back home. Every night it's different, and regardless of the weather, the sun always seems to find a way to peak past the clouds in the most beautiful way.

3. Outdoor Activities

My best bud Tanner and I kayaking down the Estero River.

Bridget MacPherson

We might not have mountains, but have you ever walked through a cypress slough?

Although FL is deemed as the pancake state because of its lack of mountain ranges, I still find great joy in being outdoors and connecting with nature.

Florida truly is a tropical wonderland with birds and plants that you just can't find elsewhere. When I moved to North Carolina, I was so surprised by the lack of birds. Then silly me remembered that birds migrate south for winter, meaning Florida really is just a sanctuary for birds year round!

Whether it be walking through a marsh or kayaking down a river, I love experiencing the unique flora and fauna that Florida has to offer.

4. Disney!

Steven, Caitlin, and I at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

Bridget MacPherson

This article would not be complete if I did not mention my favorite place... Disney World!

Yes, I am the Floridian who is obsessed with Disney, and I am PROUD! Growing up, my family's annual trip to Disney was the most exciting time of the year for my sister and I. As we have grown older, we still love going and have learned to enjoy it in a whole new way!

I truly feel that there is something at Disney for everyone. They are not just theme parks for children. There are so many amazing things to do between the four theme parks (Epcot being the best one), Disney Springs, mini golf, water-parks, and more. Disney World is truly the happiest place on earth in my eyes, and Florida just wouldn't be the same without it!

5. Day Trips!

My sister and I at the famous Colombia Restaurant in Ybor City, FL! They have THE BEST Cuban sandwiches in the world, hands down.

Bridget MacPherson

Branching off from Disney, traveling around Florida, in general, is so easy and fun! For such a big state, there are so many places to visit within mere hours of each other.

Some of my favorite cities to visit are Tampa (which is 2 hours away from my hometown of Fort Myers) and Jacksonville (which is the exact midpoint between Fort Myers and Chapel Hill!) There is so much history and culture embedded in the cities of Florida, and the accessibility makes it that much more fun to explore!

6. Diversity

One of the many historical sites in my hometown that pay homage to our history and cultural diversity.

https://bonitasprings.floridaweekly.com/articles/d...

As I mentioned above, Florida's culture is rich and diverse. The population is made up many different groups, including a strong Latinx population, temporary retired residents (snowbirds as we call them), and tourists from around the world. The nature of our state makes it a melting pot of diversity and culture.

I feel as though my upbringing in Florida inspired my love for global culture and influenced my choice in major and career path here at UNC.

7. Oranges

Sun Harvest Citrus in Fort Myers FL! It's got the best ice orange juice and ice cream around.

https://www.visitcapecoral.de/sun-harvest-citrus/

Changing gears a bit, Florida has some of the best food offerings in the country. Due to our location, we are able to provide the country with produce throughout the year, and you guessed it, oranges are our most popular export!

One of the best touristy spots in Fort Myers is a place called Sun Harvest Citrus. Pictured above, they sell the freshest Florida oranges around and sell varieties of juice and (the best) ice cream. If you have never had fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice, I am so sorry and will send you some immediately.

8. Fam!

My mom, sister, and I at sunset at Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs, FL.

Bridget MacPherson

This may sound cheesy, but the best part about Florida by far is that it's home to my family!

My family is my lifeline, and without them, I would not be the woman I am today.

All perks aside, Florida will always be the most special place to me because of the childhood it gave me and the loved ones I have there.

There it is folks! A full list of why Florida rocks, and why it should not be deemed the crazy state down south.

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7 Philosophical Ways In Which Winnie The Pooh Understands Food

Short easy words like "what about lunch?"

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Despite being a "Bear of Little Brain," Pooh really gets food. He honestly and wholeheartedly does. His philosophy behind food shines through the entire Hundred Acre Wood.

Here are 7 quotes I have found that prove this "Silly Ol' bear" may not be quite as silly when it comes to food.

1. A highlight of the day is food.

"It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?"

Pooh doesn't cut any corners with his simple love of food. To him, the highlight of a day is when he eats, what he eats, and with whom he eats it. Food is easily accessible to many of us living in the Western world, and viewing food as a source of joy gives us at the barest minimum several moments of happiness every day.

2. Food brings motivation and joy.

Routines have a comfort and an excitement in their own selves—food can be a consistent bright spot in your day. Having a routine or something you look forward to with your eating habits can make even the most stressful days positive. For Pooh it's honey. For some, it might be a piece of chocolate, or something green, or always eating breakfast. For me, it's a cup of tea.

3. Food eases loneliness.

Friends are important. And food is important. And the two can physiologically be correlated. Studies show that if a person is lonely, holding a hot cup of tea can make them feel less alone.

There will always be times in our life that we are alone, even just physically, even just for a night. Something to smile about can make the difference between being alone, and being lonely—and comfort food is comforting for a reason. When you're feeling a bit eleven o'clock ish, a bit of honey can be just the thing.

4. Food bonds people.  

"What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying 'What about a little something?' and Me saying, 'Well, I shouldn't mind a little something, should you, Piglet,' and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing."

Food is embedded in our lives every day. Our eating patterns form in relation to other people and is integrally linked to social groups. Sharing food with other people is one of our oldest forms of connecting with other people and creates an instant, natural bond.

5. Food has its own spiritual power.

Milne's cognizance of the spiritual nuances behind food is easily seen in this exchange between Piglet and Pooh. This moment, so simple, speaks volumes. Piglet recognizes that food brings comfort to a distressed emotional state, and food offers support to help Pooh find himself again.

Food (or its routines, or its comfort) can help bring us to a balanced, centered, more spiritual state. Also who hasn't been hangry? It's very difficult to be zen when you're hangry.

6. Food feeds the imagination.

The internationally famous chef Anthony Bourdain viewed food as a powerful storytelling tool. Some native American cultures believe food tells you where you've come from and where you're going. It can empower you to reassert control over your own self and your own life; it reunites you with your spiritual or imaginative self. ("For Bourdain," 2018).

Milne here captures the je ne sais quoi behind food—where food has not only a physiological and emotional influence, it also has an imaginative influence as well.

7. Food exists to nourish and fill us.

We need to eat to survive, and it doesn't take a Bear of Little Brain to tell us how wonderful it is that something we need is also something we find so much delight and joy in. Pooh got how beautiful it is to enjoy a good meal--and thankfully, with a yummy snack or a home-cooked meal or a trip out to eat, you can too.

8. Bees only exist for one reason. 

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