International Travel Adventures, New Degrees, Business Accolades, Vision Board Parties, AFSP Annual Suicide Prevention Walk and more!
I hope you've been well :) Thanks for coming back to my blog to see my latest adventures in life. In true Calynn fashion, it's been a while since I've last posted. However, I certainly have no shortage of fun events to share with you all since my last diary entry/blog article. The Living My Best Life Tour continues. Let's get into it!
8 Day Caribbean Adventure on Celebrity Cruises
My mom, baby sister and I were blessed to go on a super fun, 8-day Caribbean cruise that was action packed with tons of fun excursions, great drinks, live entertainment and beautiful beaches. This was all of our first cruise and it was a phenomenal experience aside from being absolutely WIPED by the end of it. We got to visit Puerto Rico, the US virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Neives, St .Lucia, St. Johns, Barbados, St. Thomas and more! Below is my favorite photo from the vacation.
Some of my favorite activities were snorkeling with sting rays, the safari ride (I got to hold a baby monkey as you can see), visiting their gorgeous beaches and swimming in their pure, vibrant blue waters, the Boy Band tribute concert, the musical theater shows and clubbing at the dance hall on the ship after hours. I think this was a definite success for my 1st cruise and I look forward to many more as someone who is a travel junkie!
A Season of Family Graduations
I am very blessed to come from a long line of intelligent, ambitious, impactful women and this year did nothing but to further solidify the appreciation I have for that. It was a year of many graduations, with more to come. My baby sister graduated college with high colors with an undergrad degree in Digital Media and Art. My aunt finished her doctorate degree in education with an emphasis in school nursing.
I personally finished TWO degrees of my own and am currently enrolled in another. I finished my Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts & Social Science (SUMMA CUM LAUDE) and was even spotlighted by NAU on their social media. And, I graduated with my Master of Science in Management & Leadership from WGU. This was definitely NO EASY FEAT between working fulltime, being in school in accelerated programs fulltime and running my media firm part time. But, I am SO HAPPY that I powered through and had a great support system to help me.
My capstone defense "Effective, Practical, Optimized Leadership Development Training for Managers and Directors of Extra-Curricular Youth Programs and Educational Institutions" is shown above. Now, I'm enrolled in a Doctorate of Pastoral Counseling program that I should be done with in less than a year (fingers crossed). By the end of 2024, if all goes well, I'm hoping to be Dr. Calynn Lawrence, Licensed Therapist and Board Certified Trauma Specialist.
Lots of Press and Awards
Business wise, I've been on fire lately. I won an international award for my nonprofit work with The Fresh Faces Project at the online IMA's for 2023 Social Impact Champion among highly influential philanthropists and humanitarians who I am so grateful to be categorized with. I can now say that I am an 18x award winning businesswoman, and that warms my heart to know that I've been able to live my dreams while helping others achieve theirs. This year, I've had numerous front page cover stories that were all awesome chances to tell my story and raise awareness for my cause, while being a voice and resource to other entrepreneurs and creatives of marginalized populations! I look forward to seeing where my career takes me next year in the impact I'm able to make on my community and my field as a whole.
Tour of Ohio Girls Trip
One of my best friends since high school, Nailah aka Skittles, moved to Ohio last year to further her career. So, one of my other besties who you all have seen many times, Mikaela, and I planned a trip to go visit her from Chicago. To maximize our time there, we decided to make a major road trip out of it and see the Big 3 C's in Ohio - Cincinnati, Cleveland (home of MGK) and Columbus. We had a great time walking around and sight seeing different parks, museums, galleries, restaurants and tourist attractions! I personally had some of the best pasta I've ever tasted and was plenty buzzed for the entire 3 days. What a fun time!
Vision Board Party
Many of the women around me are go getter women with big hearts, big brains and big dreams to match. That's why hosting my 1st ever Vision Board party was so moving to be surrounded by them, all actively planning, portraying and manifesting our goals for the next 10 years! We enjoyed delicious food and drinks catered by my mom and Dunkin, while cutting up old magazines to create collages that symbolize where we're trying to be a decade from now. Most of us spoke on our finances, traveling, love lives, hobbies and health. It was an eye opening, motivational, intergenerational experience that I'm very happy I had.
AFSP Annual Suicide Prevention Walk
For the 2nd year in a row, I attended the Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Chicago hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention! I was re-invited by my longtime friend and pageant mentor, La'Sonya Alexander, and I am so happy I attended. It was very emotional for me, but fulfilling. The work that this organization does is so important and quite literally life saving. As a suicide survivor myself who lives with Major Depressive Disorder and fights daily to remain positive and productive, as well as having loved ones who also have battled suicide, this cause is near and dear to my spirit. I happily was able to make a small difference by showing up to raise awareness, making a donation and buying a t-shirt to be a visual reminder of why suicide prevention is important.
Tons of Concerts
As usual, I had to pop out at a few rock concerts this past Spring and Summer because I'm an addict who loves live entertainment and probably spends too much money on tickets! This year (so far), I've seen Nickelback (for the 2nd time), Shinedown, 3 Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and Disturbed. All of them were fantastic shows and kept me vibing, singing along and dancing the entire time. I attended all three with one of my besties (my usual concert buddie, Mikaela) and 2 of them her coworker buddies also tagged along to make the events even more enjoyable! No matter what the occasion or the season, I am ALWAYS down for a good concert (as you guys have seen over the years) and I am so happy to have people in my life to experience them with me. I have a few more to come this year, 2 with my mom, and can't wait to report back on how those go!