Hiking Chautauqua

What do you do when you want to go for a hike, but no one wants to join you? You pack your pistol and hit the trail one deep!

Today was a beautiful day to go hiking. I forgot how good it felt to say, “Whatever, I’m still going!” I think there’s a beautiful lesson to be learned from today’s adventure: Everyone is not always going to join you, but if it makes you happy…do it anyway!

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Triple T Takes D.C.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting my sweet friend Tiara in Washington, D.C. Ironically, Tiara and I became close friends this exact same weekend seven years ago in college, so it was the perfect weekend for us to reunite. Tiara is also a Black Girl White Coat; she graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from the prestigious Howard University and has lived in D.C. since.

I worked three nights in a row last week and had the bright idea to fly out immediately after I got off work Friday morning….learn from my mistakes and don’t do this unless you absolutely have to. I flew into DCA in Virginia Friday afternoon, was reunited with my best friend Tasia; and Triple T Weekend officially began!

Tiara had the perfect itinerary scheduled for us that included happy hour as soon as I arrived. We went to Agua 301 on the Navy Yard of D.C. and indulged in girl talk and margaritas. After being by myself in Denver for the past month, it felt good to be around Tasia and Tiara. I’m amazed that after all these years, our friendship has not changed one bit; such a blessing!

Saturday morning, we went to the Hirshorn Museum to get our fine art fix before the ratchet activities began… because #balance. For brunch we met up with some of Tiara’s friends at Shaw’s Tavern. Shaw’s won me over with their bottomless mimosas, their cute patio and their friendly staff. After brunch we toured the city and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Tiara’s friends suggested that we go to Sugar Factory for the evening. I’d always heard about Sugar Factory and was pleasantly surprised they had one in Union Station! Sugar Factory is such a fun little bar; I highly recommend it if you are ever in Vegas, New York, Miami or D.C. (PS. I heard you should skip the food and just enjoy the drinks. I’m not speaking from experience, but I don’t like bad food so when people make suggestions, I listen).

We went out on U Street Saturday and Sunday night and I was very surprised at how big D.C.’s night life was! There’s so much to do in the city; D.C. should definitely be toured by day and night. Don’t plan on sleeping when you go, just sleep when you’re dead! #TanishaAdvice

Monday morning, Tiara went to work, Tasia headed back to Houston and I was able to enjoy my last day exploring the city solo! I have wanted to tour The National Museum of African American History since it opened. When they first opened, you had to purchase tickets months in advance and stand in line for hours before getting in. I had every intention to purchase my tickets before going but never found the time. Monday morning, I woke up and just prayed for the opportunity to get in with no ticket. I walked from Union Station in the freezing cold and stood in line with all the other tourist who had their tickets in hand. On a whim, I started a conversation with an elderly lady who was by herself. Mid conversation she asked me, “So, you have your ticket?” I embarrassingly responded, “No” and she said, “Well baby…don’t worry, I have an extra!” She handed me my ticket moments before the doors opened and I literally felt like Charlie from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory y’all! I couldn’t believe it, this lady just gave me a golden ticket!

I was so extremely honored for the experience. Growing up, my parents and grandparents always stressed the importance of our black history and culture, so this was truly a dream come true! I met many people in line and inside the museum who were traveling from all across the country to be there; many were old in age. I was humbled to be surrounded by so much history and with so many adults who lived through the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. What an experience. The museum was absolutely the best part of my trip! With my bags in tow, I left from the museum and caught an uber to the airport just in time for my flight back to Denver. I was grateful to check D.C. off my bucket list and can’t wait to see what’s next for me!

Thanks for the memories Washington, D.C. 

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True Life: I’m a Free Agent

After the devastation of Hurricane Irma, my contract in the Virgin Island was canceled. 90% of the island was destroyed, including the airport. I was forced to evacuate to Puerto Rico and fly home to Houston. Sadly enough, I’ve actually written the blog about my experience in surviving a category five hurricane. I wrote about spending four days and three nights in the hospital with limited resources, how I safely transported patients off the island, how I came home to my beach front condo to discover my roof caved in, how I survived with no running water, no electricity, no cell phone service and just a mustard seed of faith. But…my heart won’t allow me to post it. I am still recovering.

Coming home was the best feeling in the world! My parents picked me up from the airport late Wednesday night and I was greeted with the warmest hug. My mom is a frequent flyer and she described it as, “The best trip to the airport ever.” The following morning, my mom told me she was planning a trip to Philadelphia for the weekend and invited me to join her. With no job and no real responsibilities, I agreed to meet her in Philly after visiting my friend Hannah in New York City!I’ve been to New York numerous times, but this was my first time going in the summer, so I was extremely excited. Hannah is such a perfect host; after I booked my flight, she took care of everything else! I flew in to Newark, NJ and rode a train to NYC. The train ride alone deserves its own blog, but I’m too embarrassed to share that experience. Once I arrived in NYC, I dropped off my bags and we went straight to Mr. Purple, a rooftop bar in the city with breathtaking views of the concrete jungle. If you’re ever in the city and weather permits, I highly suggest you add Mr. Purple to your to-do list. Hannah and I spent the afternoon sipping Rosé and catching up on girl talk. The views and the vibes confirmed my decision… I am absolutely taking an assignment in NYC and need to start working on my license STAT!
That evening, we met up with some of Hannah’s girlfriends at an Italian food festival and probably did more drinking than eating, but that’s not that point. Afterwards, we took a quick nap and went out for the evening. We went to The Delancey, Los Feliz, and Hotel Chantelle. If you don’t remember anything else, just remember Hotel Chantelle.

Sunday morning, we stopped at Birch coffee before meeting some of my girlfriends who were in town for brunch. The coffee was delicious, and I rarely give credit to any shops other than my beloved Starbucks, so you should probably take heed. We enjoyed brunch at Cask Bar and Kitchen. They had fresh muffins, eggs benedict and pitchers of mimosas…need I say more?After brunch, Hannah showed us around the city via subway; we went to Prospect Park and walked the Brooklyn Bridge. The older I get, the more I appreciate sight-seeing and bucket listing. Doing it all with friends is usually the icing on the cake!

Monday morning Hannah went to work and I headed to Philadelphia. Once I arrived in Philly, I linked up with the original Black Girl White Coat…my mom! After the traumatic experience I had in the Virgin Islands, a mother-daugher trip was certainly in order! My mom is such a carefree spirit; she renewed my strength to continue travel nursing. We flew back from Philadelphia to Houston and on the plane ride home, I kept thinking, “I can’t wait to get back on the horse”, to continue my love for traveling and set sail for my next adventure!We arrived home Wednesday night and I had a phone interview with Denver’s premier baby hospital Thursday morning! During the interview, the director asked me to describe a time when I was forced into a position that I didn’t feel prepared for. I shared my story of being charge nurse the morning that Irma hit the Virgin Islands and how I was forced into helping life flight our patients off the island. She was blown away and I was in tears. She said “Well, that was the best answer I’ve ever received.” The interview was over and three hours later my recruiter called me and said “Congratulations, you did it again.” I got the job!

It was then that I realized, I took no L’s on my assignment in the Virgin Islands. The islands made me stronger, more resilient and the experience alone helped me stand out amongst other eligible candidates. The Lord turned my test into my testimony and I am forever grateful.

 

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Sorry for Neglecting My Blog

Before moving to the Virgin Islands, I had all these plans to blog at least once a week, to be more consistent with posting on my social media platforms, and to make sure everyone stayed up-to-date with all my travel nurse adventures. I’m half way into my first contract and I’m unashamed to admit: I haven’t accomplished any of that because…I’ve been having fun!

Moving to the Virgin Islands has been such a liberating experience! There’s this magical thing that happens when you put everything you own into storage and buy a one way ticket to an island all by yourself….you feel like you can do anything! The work has been extremely tough, but the off days make it all worth it! I’ve been here for seven weeks and I think I’ve spent one day in the house. It sounds surreal, but I really do live on vacation. Everyday that I’m not at work, I wake up wondering, “What can I get into today?” And lol because the island never fails me. If you follow along my instastories, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been partying on boats, island hopping, brunching, hiking, swimming in natural pools, and climbing mountains! I LOVE this travel nurse life; the adventure never ends!

Our company provides housing for all the travelers. We live in a condo right on the beach, so it’s basically college all over again. Our condos are the dorms, work is class and our boat parties are just like frat parties…except we somehow get paid to live this crazy life! Maybe this is God’s way of saying, “Job well done” for those four years of college that I spent devoted to my studies. It was hard giving up my “normal” college experience, but if those four years of dedication gave me this life, then I’d do the same thing over and over again.

I’m learning SO much from being a travel nurse. I’m gaining independence, resilience, and the courage to do things that I never would have anticipated this early on in my career. As travelers, the hospital has high expectations from us. My second week on the unit, I was thrown into being charge nurse (with five minutes of training). While I easily could have told them that I’ve never been charge and avoided the responsibility, I didn’t…I just went for it! Charging has been the perfect opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone and into the unknown. All my snapchat followers know I call it “forced growth.” I don’t think I was 100% ready for it, but I’m killin’ it! It has been challenging but I’m excited that I get to walk away from this experience and add “charge nurse” to my resume! *Rick Ross grunt*

Now that I am half way through my contract, it’s time for me to start looking for my next assignment. Last week I received my California nursing license, this week I applied for my Georgia license, and I’m already licensed in twenty-six other states so yea…I have options. Although I’ve REALLY been enjoying life as an island girl, I think I’ll be ready for change by the end of my assignment. I don’t know where I’ll end up next, but I’m ready for the ride! I have about six weeks left on the island and I plan to blog more, but if I don’t, “I’m sorry for neglecting my blog… I’ve been having fun!”

 

 

 

 

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Black Girls in the BVI

Some people might think it’s crazy that I met a stranger and decided to island hop to the British Virgin Islands with her, but I just call it trusting my gut and having fun…

Meet Michelle: 
Michelle is a fellow #girlboss from Houston, Texas but raised on Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Two weeks ago, I walked into a store to purchase a bracelet from Michelle and was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was the designer and owner of the very successful jewelry store!
Saturday night, I was on the phone with my friend from home telling him how badly I’ve been wanting to go to the British Virgin Islands. When Michelle texted me Sunday morning and offered to show me around the BVIs, I couldn’t believe my fate. I jumped at the opportunity!
Since being on the island, I’ve met many new people. Some have good intentions, some are questionable, and some are bad. As a female traveler, I’m learning to follow my gut and trust my intuition. I’m really growing closer to God during this season of my life; He’s making this intuition thing easy for me by showing me the hearts of strangers during our first interactions.
Michelle and I took a public ferry to the island of Tortola and then island hopped to Jost Van Dyke.
I’ve seen A LOT of beautiful beaches in my lifetime; but none compare to the beaches on the island of Jost Van Dyke… 
The water was crystal clear, the sand felt perfect between our toes, and the sea animals swam right up to us; they were just as friendly as the people. 
Throughout the day, several people kept asking how Michelle and I knew each other. Some thought we were sisters and others thought we were long-standing friends. When we told them I was a travel nurse, she designed jewelry sold all over the Virgin Islands and we just met, they were completely shocked and fell in love with our carefree spirits.
Just like a #girlboss, Michelle seemed to know people wherever we went. Within 5 minutes of being on the beach she saw Mike, a former business partner of hers. She told him how we were late arriving to the BVIs and we were disappointed because we would have to leave by 4 o’clock to catch the 5 o’clock public ferry back home. Without hesitation, he offered to give us a ride back on his private boat. 
I’m usually not the type of girl to accept ANYTHING from people, but this just felt right. So after a 2 minute discussion, Michelle and I agreed to tag along with Mike and his crew (both male and female) to continue exploring the islands. 
Once aboard, we instantly felt like family. We blasted the music, poured the drinks and set sail for our next destination…Saint John, Virgin Island. 
Saint John was more upbeat than the tranquil island of Jost Van Dyke. The beach was full of bars, the food was good, and I finally had cell phone service so I was a happy camper! 
Just as planned, I made it back safely to my condo on the beach by sunset. Michelle and I had a great time and it was undoubtedly my favorite day on the island. I’ve been working REALLY hard the past two weeks, so it was nice to have a day off to enjoy. I’m clocking back in as Nurse Tanish tonight and serving as charge nurse for my next few shifts. The work has been tough but I’m having the time of my life living on vacation. I really can’t complain when I work three days a week and relax in paradise the other four.
Until next time,
Stay safe, trust your gut, and if you ever have the opportunity…be a travel nurse! 

 

 

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Surprise! I’m a Travel Nurse!

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet.” 

 I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. The girl who cried when she moved thirty minutes down the street and out her parents house is actually moving across the country to a place she’s never visited?!…Okay! My friends and family keep asking me, “How does it feel?” Honestly, I’m still in complete shock but I feel 100% prepared. I have no idea what adventure awaits me when I get off the plane in St. Thomas, but I know that I’m going to kill it! I have peace knowing that God has laid the foundation for my life and that He did not bring me this far to leave me. I am nervous, I am excited, and I am scared; but most of all…I’m prepared. I was made for this!

Q: Why did you decided to become a travel nurse?

A: To be honest, I didn’t know travel nursing was a thing until my last year of nursing school. Since learning about it, I knew it was something I HAD to do! This summer, I realized my lease was ending and I was tired of paying rent but not ready for the commitment of a house. I had no attachments, and I love to travel, so I figured, “why not?!”

Q: How did you get started?

A: I’ll need to write a whole blog with step by step instructions for you all, and I will. But the short version is 1. Find a company 2. Choose a recruiter 3. Decided where you want to go 3. Apply to your hospitals of choice 4. Interview 5. Get an offer 6. Negotiate your offer 7. Finalize your contract 8. Begin your on boarding process

But have no fear; your recruiter will act as your personal assistant and make sure everything goes smoothly!

Q: Why did you choose to go to the Virgin Islands?

A: Ha! I didn’t choose the VI, it definitely chose me! I applied in Utah, got an offer, and God said, “dream bigger.” I applied in Colorado, got an offer, God said, “dream bigger.” I applied to NYU (which was #1 on my list) got an offer, God said, “dream bigger”. At that point, I grew frustrated with God, like “How big do you expect me to dream here?!?” The next day, my recruiter called me and suggested I apply to an opening in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I literally said, “I guess.” I applied, interviewed the next day, and received an offer within 30 minutes of completing my interview. I couldn’t believe it!

Q: What about housing, do they provide it?

A: My company offers housing or a stipend for me to find my own. Since this is my first assignment, I decided to let them handle it all.

Q: Will you have a car while on the island?

A: No. I had the option, but I hate driving! So yay! Public transportation here I come! Or I may decide to get a cute pink moped when I get there, I don’t know y’all; I’m making this all up as I go!

Q: Where’s all your stuff?

A: All my precious Z Gallerie furniture, Louboutins, and other designer labels are in storage. It makes me kind of sad to part ways, but I’m excited for this low maintenance lifestyle I’m about to live. I need it.

Q: How long is your contract?

A: Contracts can range from 6-13 weeks, mine is 13 weeks.

Q: Do they pay for your flight?

A: Yes, my company pays for my round trip airfare.

Q: What’s the pay like?  Is it really that much more than you currently make?

A: All the offers I received were more than I accepted in the VI. I believe each assignment will have different perks, I accepted this offer knowing that I could have made a lot more money. But I couldn’t put a price tag on working my dream job…in paradise! But to answer everyone’s question: Yes, I make more traveling.

Bonus: If you’re a NICU, L&D, or ER nurse, congrats! You are working in one of the highest paid specialties. You’ll have financial freedom wherever you go. And if you’re not in either of those specialties but want to make big bucks, just go to California and thank me later!

Q: What’s next for you?

A:  I’ve always tried to plan my life. This experience has taught me that I should just give it up. God has exceeded all my expectations and is planning things far better than I ever could. So from this point on, I’m giving it to God. I don’t know what’s next, but I know it will be great!

PS. If you have any suggestions on what I should do or where I should go while in the Virgin Islands, I would love to hear your suggestions below!

 

 

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I Feel Like I’m Just Getting Started

As I mentioned in my previous post, June has always been a busy month for me; this year was no exception. I have honestly been dreading June 2017 for the past six months. I moved June 1st, my sister got married to her college sweetheart June 10th, I flew to Cabo San Lucas June 11th to celebrate my birthday on the 15th, and I flew back to serve as a bridesmaid for one of my best friends who got married June 17th. Whew! (Please don’t ask me what I was thinking in planing that one.)

In preparation for all the events of June, I took three weeks off from work. As much as I love my job, my time off has been a dream! I have been present for all the recent celebrations and was able to spend some much-needed quality time with my family. My birthday always falls in perfect time for my dad and I to celebrate Father’s Day and my birthday together. Every year on my birthday he asks me, “How does it feel to be another year older?” I usually respond with some generic, one worded answer; but this year felt so much different. I said, “It feels really good. I may be getting older, but I feel like I’m just getting started.”

Growing up, I always envisioned this perfect life for myself where I would go to college, have fun, meet my soulmate, get engaged at graduation, get a job, get married, buy a big house, and settle down all by the age of 25. BOY WAS I WRONG! This past year has shown me that I’m nowhere near where I expected to be, and that makes me so happy! I laugh at the thought of living that life I planned for myself. Like yes, I WANT ALL THOSE THINGS IN THE FUTURE (just in case my future hubby is reading this), but I have so much to do until then that I could never imagine settling down at tender age of 25, I am just getting started; I have barely touched the surface!

Since returning to the states on my birthday, I’ve had an array of feelings. I am tired, I have lost my voice numerous of times in the past two weeks, I have bruises that I can’t explain, and I think I may have broken my foot in Cabo; but most of all, I am feeling eternally grateful and BLESSED! Spending my 25th birthday in Mexico with some of my favorite girls taught me so much about life. On our last night, as we sat and had dinner together, I couldn’t help but just stare around the table and feel so extremely loved. I may be biased, but I think I have the best friends in the entire world! My life can get really crazy sometimes, but they always keep me grounded.

In addition to all the madness that June has brought, I have been working relentlessly behind the scenes for my next big project. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that the Lord saw fit to make me the beneficiary of these blessings. My next project keeps me up late at night, I’m constantly researching how I can excel and completely immerse in the opportunity, I’m always on the go in preparation, and I’m literally bursting at the seams holding in the news from you all. To my closest friends and family who have been praying for me, thank you. I can’t wait to share this adventure with you all. I love you all like crazy!

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Lessons From The Big Apple

This past week, I was in New York visiting my forever friends Hannah and Elizabeth.  After 10 years of friendship, we have learned one valuable lesson from each other: friends don’t have to see each other everyday to remain best friends. In high school, these girls and I were ATTACHED AT THE HIP! I thought I would die when I moved away to college without them. We lived in separate cities, with different majors, new friends, new hobbies, and new lifestyles, but we always knew we’d have each other. We are the friends that go months without speaking to each other, but will drop anything if either of us were ever in need; and there is much to be appreciated from friends like that. We met my freshman year of high school at cheerleading tryouts and have been best friends ever since. Elizabeth later went on to graduate from LSU and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Hannah graduated from Texas A&M and lives in Manhattan! When we were 16-year-old high school girls, Hannah always talked about living in NYC, and I am SO happy to see her dreams become reality!

Pictured above: Carrie Bradshaw aka my BFF, Hannah

Needless to say, Liz and I jumped at the opportunity to visit our girl in her new city! We arrived in New York and got straight to exploring! While Han was at work (big girl probs) we visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum and were blown away with how excellent of a job they did memorializing the events that took place. While walking though the museum, the emotions that the victims and their families experienced on September 11th, 2001 overcame us, and we left feeling extremely patriotic. We later met up with Han for dinner reservations and had a wonderful evening catching up on some long overdue girl talk. The following morning, we started our day with a class at SoulCycle! We had such a great time and I don’t think either of us have worked out that hard since our high school cheer days! After feeling rejuvenated and 13 lbs lighter we went to SoHo for some well deserved shopping! We got some cute items and I added another purse to my Louis Vuitton collection….unapologetically ( I blogged about that concept here).  My college roommate and other best friend, Tasia was in NYC for the weekend so we linked up with her for the night.

The remainder of our trip was filled with endless girl time and lots of eating…naturally. That Monday as I was flying back to Houston, I couldn’t help but be thankful for this life and the lessons I learned from “The Big Apple”. I was SO grateful to see my high school best friends doing great things with their lives. I learned the importance of “doing you”. Elizabeth, Hannah and I aren’t attached at the hip anymore, and that’s okay! We are each living completely different lives and doing exactly what we want to do. Nothing brings me more joy than watching my girls live the life they have always imagined. My dream for this community is that we grow as women who love the lives we live, and are able to stay connected to the people who have watched us grow from girls to women.

Major key alert: Eat with the people you starved with!

Liz, Tanish and Han Circa 2010

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LA Travel Guide

 

 

To understand me, you must first understand a girl named Tasia Sapp. Tasia is a little firecracker from Dallas, Texas that I met my first semester of college. We decided to attend a Halloween party together Fall 2010 and have been inseparable ever since. She and I refer to each other as soulmates because we complete each other in every possible way. While we have been on several girls trips together, this was our first solo adventure, and it was certainly one to remember!

We both flew into LAX from our separate cities on Friday evening. I arrived several hours ahead of Tasia so I decided to do some light shopping at The Grove. When Tasia arrived, we spent the night doing our favorite thing: snuggling in bed and catching up on some long overdue girl talk. Somewhere in the midst of our talking, laughing, and reminiscing, we lost track of time and it was 4 o’clock in the morning! We both knew that we wanted to hike Runyon Canyon and be at the top for sunrise. So, we decided to just stay up and make the hike! We got dressed, popped the champagne and headed out. The view was amazing and pictures truly do no justice. We were above the clouds and the view of the canyon proved that God is #TheRealMVP. Once at the top, we reflected on how crazy-good 2016 was and how we accomplished so much with the support of one another. We made a toast to all the ambitious boss babes across the world and wished that this would be the best year for you all (you are welcome). Runyon Canyon was the highlight of the trip and it is definitely a must do for anyone visiting LA!

We had brunch to follow on Venice beach and had the most wonderful day. After being awake for nearly 48 hours we decided to go back to our Airbnb for a quickkkkkkk nap. The nap turned into us sleeping until 1am and we realized we missed our second night out on the town, but much to our surprise we were unbothered!

The following day we began Sunday Funday at Market Provisions LA, which included $5 dollar bottomless mimosas. So naturally we had a great time, and probably one too many to drink. We continued the day with rooftop bars and some beautiful sightseeing. We hit Rodeo Drive where Tasia and I picked our “Treat Yo Self” bags of 2017 and had a romantic dinner to follow.

All in all, our First Annual Soulmate Vacay was a complete success and we can’t wait to continue this cute tradition. Where shall Tanish and Tay go next? Leave your suggestions below!

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