10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated High School

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Oh high school! Those were the days, though I never thought I’d say those words, here I am 8 years later and there was a lot high school didn’t prepare me for. While I don’t expect high school teachers to teach students all there is to know about life I do believe certain amendments can be made to encourage student’s’ overall practical development as citizens of the world. So as we approach graduation season here are 10 things I wish I knew when I left high school:

  1. Life is expensive and it doesn’t get any cheaper unless you follow this blog where I provide tips and tricks on how to navigate life on a budget.
  2. It’s ok not to go to a university, depending on your field of study/work there are other forms of certification available and can be done at smaller organizations (i.e. Accounting, you don’t have to get a degree you can study at an institute for your ACCA certification).
  3. I can start a business even before I graduate and I can grow my business using support of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation: https://www.jbdc.net/
  4. Some of what I learn will be useless, soon after graduating I’ll discover that quite a bit of the knowledge gained will only be used when answering trivia as future studies will only focus on a select field of knowledge but it’s all a part of the process.
  5. Investing is a good way to earn extra money with little to no effort on my part. Always invest with a reputable party, I’d suggest a well-known brokerage firm (SSL, Mayberry Investments, JMMB etc).
  6. Parents know what they’re talking about. They’ve had the experience, they’ve seen it, they know, they are trying to help. Listen to them, sift through it and apply what you can to your situation.
  7. It’s never too early to start saving. Remember that commercial with Uncle Jimmy not preparing for retirement don’t be Uncle Jimmy.
  8. Some friendships won’t last, enjoy them while they do and be kind to each other.
  9. Exercise is important, that high metabolic rate will begin to slow.
  10. It’s okay to negotiate your salary. Probably not for your first job but once you’ve had some experience under your belt and a proven track record you should always negotiate.

As a bonus, here are five things I wish I had learnt whilst in high school:

  • How to drive

Though the resources for such a feat is beyond reach in this current economic climate  I think we should all be made aware of the rules of the road even if only in theory, so we can have a country of better pedestrians and drivers. Students should know what their rights are on the road.

  • Taxes 

In high school the only tax I knew about was general consumption tax; the tax that’s applied to next to everything in Jamaica. Products, services, you name it you’re probably paying G.C.T on it. As a student you should know why it exists. Make it a math assignment, along with solving the equation/problem add that definitions of some terminology is required to round out the assignment.

  • How to write a resume

We could have skipped a few of the random spelling tests in English class and had some practice with preparing a resume, especially in our final year, for our quickly approaching future.

  • Civics

This course of study was once a part of the Jamaican education system, unfortunately it skipped my generation, which could probably account for why a lot of young people lack an interest in the governance of the country and patriotism.

  • Scholarships

It would have helped to know about scholarships to fund my tertiary education. Student loans are not your friends but scholarships are a well kept secret in high school.

Congratulations on graduating from high school!

If you’d like me to make this into a series on things every young person should know after graduation, leave a comment below.

Happy living.

Candi Nicole logo

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2 Companies That Help You Live Your Best Life On A Budget

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Now I know I promised this post a few weeks ago but it’s finally here and I promise it’s worth the wait.

If you couldn’t tell from previous posts I’m a stickler for wise spending and sticking to my budget, so when it comes to living my best life all while saving money I had to know about these two amazing businesses. Which two businesses you may ask?

*Pauses for dramatic effect*

If you found my blog through Instagram (Hi! Welcome!) you’ve probably seen the adventures and trips to scenic destinations and guess what? They’ve all been afforded through the two businesses I’m about to tell you about. Whether you want to dine in style or vacation in a fancy hotel or cozy getaway villa or splurge on spa treatments these two companies will not let you down. Ok, ok, I’m done teasing. The secret is out, the two companies are:

  1. Gustazos: https://www.gustazos.com/
  2. & Brawta Livinghttps://brawtaliving.com/

I could just end this blog post here and leave you to click the links and have your hearts be blessed but if you’re still sceptical and I’ll provide a little more information.

Let me explain how it all works:

  • Discounted services and products are provided by external and independent companies not associated Gustazos or Brawta Living.
  • Gustazos and Brawta Living are  the middle men who bring the discounted goodies into one central and convenient location (their websites) for your perusal.
  • The cost of the products/services are paid to Gustazos or Brawta Living.
  • A number of payment options are available particularly with Brawta Living, so if you don’t have a credit card you’ll still be able to capitalize on the deals.
  • Registering with either company is easy.
  • Present your coupon code at the host company and enjoy your product or service!

Living my best life is made easy by these two companies serving company deals and discounts. I’ve been using them for about a year and I’ve had nothing but good experiences. I hope you give them a try and let me know if you do.

P.S. If you’re a millennial in debt (like so many of us), it’s ok to pay your debt and also have fun. This post is for you too. Life is for living! There just might be a deal available for you.

Happy living

-Candi Nicole

Waiting to Exhale

pexels-photo-568027.jpegLike a treasure buried at the bottom of the sea so was she oblivious of her worth.

The precious gems she wore were incomparible to her worth but she couldn’t see it

Her face was washed with her tears every night when his love proved to be too much

He would hurt her and he called it love and she believed him

He was the only man she ever loved,

He took care of her her wants, her needs, she was his ‘QUEEN’

Despite her love for him she found happiness when he was gone and she was alone

She hated herself for feeling that way, how dare she?

Other women would kill for what I have, I am his wife after all,

But her heart bleeds with the truth of who she is

Her mind knows no rest

Her heart is heavy with suppressed emotions and expressions

The dread, the fear, the anxiety are all apart of her daily diet

Slowly the will to live disappears from her being

She’d rather die than appear a failure to her parents and peers

Till death do us part, let this love kill me!

She didn’t know her worth, she didn’t know it was ok…

 to be alone, to come up for air, to spread her wings, to run

to break his heart like he broke hers. To leave.

So the treasure was left buried, still waiting to be found.

Candi Nicole

5 Ways to a Happier You

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While we all strive to achieve our grandest dreams, happiness or contentment may be elusive along the journey. Don’t be dismayed I have a few tips for you on how to be just that: happy. Now I’m not picking these tips out of a hat but from my experiences and there is no way I can assure you happiness with these tips but they are certainly worth a try.

Tip #1 – Have good friends 

Imagine a fire being consistently blown at in all directions, eventually it will go out, but if the same fire was gently fanned when low it would stay alive and provide warmth.

It’s the same with friends. The wrong friends will exhaust you and leave you weak while the right ones will empower you. So, choose to be around people who elevate your thoughts, educate and motivate you, positivity and negativity are contagious. You don’t want to be the only optimist in a group of pessimists.   Imagine always having to prove your point to a group of people who refuse to understand your perspective. I say avoid the frustration altogether and befriend those who have traits that feed your optimism and growth.

Tip #2 – Do what you love

Now, this one may be difficult since for many people it’s not a daily reality, their job isn’t what they love but it pays the bills. If you fall into that category this tip may take extra effort on your part. This tip will require for you to make the time necessary to engage in activity you thoroughly enjoy outside of you work hours. Initially it may be difficult but as it becomes a habit you’ll find your mood will improve and it will overflow into other areas of your life.

Tip #3 – Love yourself

I strategically opted to have this as a midway tip. It’s often easier to handle the external issues than to face the true big ones which lie within. So after you’ve found better friends and start doing what you love there’s no way you can remain the same individual you were before. As you undergo your metamorphosis you must choose to love the person you are understanding the flaws and choosing to change those that negatively impact your growth all while falling in love with the new you. Take time out to pamper you. Take a look at old photos of yourself and laugh or cry, whichever seems right. Think about your body and personality, what’s your favourite feature and why?

Tip #4 – Be Grateful

While youre evolving you might get sidetracked by comparison. Instead set time in your day to reflect on your life, not someone else’s. It may help to write down 5-10 things you are grateful for each day. At the end of a week you would be surprised at the progress you’ve made not just in writing them but in what you’ve achieved in your life over the week.

Tip #5 –  Develop your relationship with God

In so doing you will realize the need for all the aforementioned tips. Contentment and peace are gifts the Lord gives because we will need it. Life isn’t easy but with grace all things are possible and you’ll definitely be happier knowing you always have someone in your corner, a forever friend. Pray, read the Word and bask in His presence and watch as the gifts of peace and joy become yours.

Peace & Blessings

Candi Nicole

Anxiety?? Friend or Foe????

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Photo credit: Gemma Correll

I wrote this post a few weeks ago when sleep was elusive and as my mind wandered I took to my phone found my WordPress app and shared with you my anxious musings.

11:15 pm on a Sunday night. I have work in the morning but my mind is ladened with desires and dreams, wants and hopes for tomorrow and the future.

Anxiety. A feeling all too familiar. Inextricably linked to my ambitious nature. Always wanting to be, to do, to evolve and become. Somehow still trapped in the present presence of what still is and is not yet. Confused that my efforts seem to avail nothing. Powerless I feel to create my own destiny. Destined to fail over and over again. Fearing that I may never actually achieve that which makes me anxious.

Alone with these thoughts my only comfort is my God. The one who sustains my mind and body. Though conflicted, assured I am that, that which ought to be will be fulfilled and my true fixation should be upon rebuilding the tower of my faith. Fortified by past experience, tested tried and true. Remembering the old like it was new. Pushing anxiety aside and relying on faith believing, that which I do is not in vain.

Ever so often I enter a mode of deep contemplation, thinking about everything and nothing all at the same time. The process will usually exhaust me and leave me in a lower place than I started. However in those moments when I’m weakest I’m convinced the only thing that keeps me going is my faith.

I hope this is a reminder to us all that we all struggle, especially as millenials, it may seem as if our goal is fleeting but nothing is ever gained from worry. Continue to work toward your goals and remember:

“And whatsoever ye dodo it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Col 3:23-24

Peace & Blessings

-Candi Nicole

5 Budget-Friendly Restaurants to dine at in Kingston

Want to go out on a Friday night but strapped for cash? Want to surprise your friend or lover with exquisite cuisine but only have a shoestring budget? Look no further. Here are 5 Kingston based restaurants that will have both your taste buds and pockets Spanish Town rocking with delight.

A-Bar Restaurant and Lounge

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Photo credit: Rope-een.com

Let’s dive right in. This restaurant is first on the list because it’s probably the most budget friendly but just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean the food isn’t tasty. As long as you’re not averted by its busy party-like atmosphere on the weekends you’re in for a treat. From pizza fries to shrimp pasta to their staple Louisiana fried chicken, you’ll have your pick of delectable eats and the bar menu isn’t bad either. So as you can imagine where there is good food and good prices customers will flock. So on any given Friday or Saturday you can expect this restaurant to be full to capacity. A night-cap on a weekday however has much more romantic atmosphere.

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Abarsportinglounge/  

Macau Restaurant and Gaming Lounge

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Photo credit: Macau Gaming Lounge & Bar

Now here’s the place to be if you want to enjoy your meal with a view. Perched atop the gaming lounge below the Macau Restaurant offers dining under the stars and if you time your date right you can dine under a lovely moonlit sky. It’s quite a romantic experience, as the only other lighting is provided by lanterns and a lit candle at each table (as seen in photo above). Ok, Ok back to the food, while I am underwhelmed by the choices available for entrées at Macau, I’m never disappointed with taste and they get major points for never failing in that area. You’ll have the standard options of chicken, pork and seafood done the Macau way.

Here’s a look at my dining experience from my last outing there:

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/macaujamaica/ 

Triple Century Sports Bar 

triple.jpgWhen it comes to Triple Century Sports Bar I immediately think about their juicy gourmet burger dubbed “the Triple Century Burger”. It is nothing short of amazing. It is hands down the best gourmet burger I’ve had so far and I’ve had a few. While I swear by the Triple Century Burger, this restaurant has no shortage of meal choices. There’s pizza for the pizza lovers, ribs if you’re into that and an array of chicken dishes and vegetarian options too, if my memory serves me. This was my standard for food prices in my college student days so the prices for all this deliciousness are quite competitive.

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/triplecenturysportsbar/

The Rib Kage Grill/ The Serengeti Bistro

img_3718-1My personal favourite. Not only is it budget-friendly but also beautifully designed. It’s the perfect getaway, definitely the most romantic out of these five restaurants. It’s a hidden gem located at Hope Zoo. The food is decadent, you’re dining under the stars, it feels very magical. The service here is exceptional. I have nothing but good things to say about this restaurant. I won’t say much more here because I do have a full review already posted so here’s the link: The Foodscapades: Rib Kage, Hope Zoo.

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gsbbq/posts

Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records

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Photo credit: Caribbean 360

I couldn’t make this post without adding this restaurant. It’s renowned for its authentically Jamaican meals which makes it a little different from the others. However for me that’s not the selling point of this restaurant. The design however is. It’s interior is beautiful, it’s not your average sports bar and that makes it interesting but then the food is also great and that my friend is the icing on the cake. Like A-Bar and Triple Century when this restaurant is full it’s full, but somehow Tracks and Records still manages to feel very comfortable even when it’s at capacity. I did a full review of this restaurant in a previous post, see below:

If you want to know more about Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records see my in-depth review here: The Foodscapades: Usain Bolt: Tracks and Records

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UBTandR/

I hope this helps you dine in style and save. Look out for posts every Sunday. Next week we tackle how you can save on trips around Jamaica.

Happy eating & Stay blessed.

-Candi

The Foodscapades: Rib Kage, Hope Zoo

Like an oasis in the middle of the desert, Rib Kage is situated in the heart of the Hope Zoo, St. Andrew. A pleasant surprise to me. You see, I’ve been to the zoo twice in the last two years and I didn’t notice the addition of a restaurant. Perhaps the oversight was due to my excitement in admiring the animals and not much else. That aside, Rib Kage is a gem. The ambiance is the best I’ve experienced in all my years of dining (p.s. it hasn’t been that long I’m only 23, I’m extra).

Cradled within the beautiful trees and flowers Hope Gardens/Zoo is famous for, the Serengeti’s open floor plan and rustic, natural wood furnishings completes the true escape feel of the restaurant. Typically, a restaurant will have modern, attractive furniture that fail in the comfort department. Not so at Rib Kage, the table and chairs while both high, were perfectly compatible allowing me to dine in sublime comfort with good posture.

img_3716-1I had only sat down for a little while and I was already impressed but the true test would be in the actual dining and service experience.

Price

And the service was impeccable! The food, delicious! The price was set to please. The price was probably what impressed me the most. Shocked there was no tax or service charge added to my total. I’m not sure if there was no tax at all or if the tax was already incorporated into the price of each dish. Either way I was happy with my total.

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Customer Service

Now on to service. Earlier I said it was impeccable and I was extremely happy about that. My only issue was not learning our server’s name. I’d have loved to refer to her by name her and give her the props she deserves. She was an excellent waitress. She explained the wait time for the meals. She provided us with excellent service, she never forgot us. Our meal was was served quickly even after she warned us of a 20 minute wait time. Our glasses were never without water.

Taste

To add to the excellent service, my meal was exactly as it was described. Covered in a mix of herbs the shrimp was served on skewers with a side of coleslaw and a whole Irish potato with butter. The pairing was delectable, my taste buds did a jig. All in all the meal was deeply satisfying.

If you want to dine in a secluded and cool atmosphere, perfect for table talk, Rib Kage is the restaurant I would recommend. That’s all for this review.

Let me know if you decide to visit Rib Kage, Hope Zoo or if you have already visited feel free to comment and tell me your experience while there.

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“And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” Ecc 3:13

-Candi Nicole

 

 

 

Storytime: I didn’t wear deodorant for 2 weeks!..and I didn’t stink.

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Now  I know I know the title is a bit shocked emoji. Girl! It’s true though. I went without deodorant for more than a week and I didn’t smell.

Obviously you’re wondering why I wouldn’t wear deodorant and the simple answer is I was forced not to. It turned out that the anti-perspirant I was using had expired. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until my skin was irritated. Yes, I had a rash and instead of discontinuing use completely I just opted to use the next one I had on hand. Bad idea. It only compounded the problem.

Despite the itchiness of both armpits the situation reminded me of how much I don’t actually need deodorant. I’m not the sweaty type, I hardly ever sweat in fact. Being reminded of this made me think about why  use anti-perspirant in the first place. I really don’t even need it. Here I was barely using my deodorant. I used so little that I think I had it for almost a year and when it expired I still had a decent amount left.

So as I made my way to work everyday in Jamaica’s tropical climate, get this….. I didn’t sweat and where there was no sweat there was no smell. One evening after work I met up with my boyfriend and when I told him I wasn’t wearing deodorant he proceeded to check me lol and guess what! I wasn’t even embarrassed to have him do that because I knew I didn’t smell.

I got so caught up in my hygiene routine that I forgot how my body behaved on its own. I say all this to remind us to give our pits a break. Give the chemicals a day off or two.

Stay fresh fam!

 

Love, Peace and Blessings

-Candi Nicole

 

Being a millennial

Hi, my name is Candi and I’m a millennial.

It was only recently that I realized the term actually described me. I always heard about generation x and the baby boomers and the generation gap etc etc. But now there’s a group that I fall into and I can actually identify with.

A group of people who don’t seem to fit in and are at war with the changing world, not changing fast enough to meet our very real needs.

The truth is millennials are the largest generation the world has seen and thanks to our doting parents we are also the most educated. But with great power they say comes great responsibility and that’s where things get rough. Not only are we expected to be better than our parents were with far greater competition but we also should somehow be happy and motivated and energetic all the time. While in reality being a millennial is depressing.

When you’re not struggling to start a business you are fighting against hundreds of applicants for the same job.

Let’s not forgot how social media has this way of pitting us against each other with unrealistic images of perfection and success.

Being a millenial is hard. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so. You may feel confused, useless and you probably still don’t know where you fit in this world. Whoever is reading this I want you to know that these feelings are not unique. They are valid but you are not the only one who struggles to figure out your future and your purpose. Don’t let it depress you. Instead, here are three tips to help you through those tough times:

  1. Talk about the issues you face with people you trust, who will listen to your concerns and see their validity. Sometimes a listening ear is all you need to get clarity. A problem that once seemed enormous can become smaller when its dissected in conversation.
  2. Don’t give up. You’ve probably heard this a million times but it’s true. Just like a wheel needs pressure applied to it to keep turning it’s the same with whatever you’re trying to accomplish. If you stop making an effort you won’t see any results. Taking a short break is fine but always get back on the horse. Reevaluate, assess, make the necessary changes and keep at it until success comes.
  3. Celebrate progress. In Jamaica we have an old proverb that says “every mikkle mek a mukkle” which means every little bit adds up, so as you keep making an effort results will come. Count all of those results big or small. Especially the smaller accomplishments on the journey to the big ones. an environment of celebration is always joyful and that will make you happier. Treat yourself, buy that drink or that book or take that vacation or just sleep for 8 hours however you see fit to reward yourself, do it! You’ve earned it. You are worthy of a day off, a break, you deserve to enjoy yourself even though you haven’t ‘made it’ yet.

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Love and Peace

-Candi Nicole

The Foodscapades: Usain Bolt: Tracks and Records

Anyone who knows me knows that I love food. LOVE! In the truest meaning of the word. Food is life.

But don’t mistake this said love to mean I’m easy to please. I’m still quite nit picky and I’m a stickler for taste and consistency, which brings us to this new category on the blog: the foodscapades. A word coined by me to describe the food adventures we’ll embark on. I’ll take you to restaurants with me and give you my honest opinion in the following categories:

  1. Taste
  2. Price
  3. Customer service

So let’s kick things off with our first ever restaurant review!

Tracks and Records

Located in Jamaica’s capital city it was abuzz with activity as I got there. I had no issues being seated however. Already I was impressed. Then I was fortunate enough to be seated in what used to be the vip area on the second floor overlooking the rest of the restaurant, a delightful view.

Photo: The view from my table.

My picture is not quite doing it justice but you can see what I mean. A little.

My friends and I were promptly and pleasantly greeted. Shoutout to Tricia! We were happy.

So now on to the meat of the matter:

Taste

I ordered the Jerk Platter which allowed me to have a go at their styling of jerk pork and jerk chicken with the signature sides of festival and bread. The meats were pretty bland for me. Not nearly as spicy as I’d like as traditional jerk is. But if you aren’t a fan of spicy food it would be perfect for you.

Price

The price was JMD$1300 which is comparable to similar restaurants. No complaints here on the price.

Customer service

The wait for food was about 20 minutes but I won’t complain about that since it was a busy, Saturday night. We had our complimentary water and conversation so we barely noticed the time. The ambiance and music helped too. I was very relaxed. There were no interruptions during my meal and I didn’t feel pressured to leave the table despite it being a busy night.

Customer service=8/10

All in all Tracks and Records did not disappoint. If you like a little bit of alcohol, the bar is there for you, be sure to request the cocktail menu and check out for your choice of liquor. That’s all for this review.

Let me know if you decide to visit Tracks and Records or if you have already visited feel free to comment and tell me your experience while there.