Always Be Grateful and Thankful

On the eve of Thanksgiving, let us use this occasion to show our continual thanks every day of the year.

Many Americans have lost sight of what it means to truly be thankful and grateful. I, for one, am grateful for my family, my friends, and my freedom. These are things to be cherished, and I hope you similarly have these things to cherish. One day is not enough to give and receive thanks. In fact, we should aspire to do this beyond Thanksgiving.

 “Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” –Ralph Marston

Pimp joy if you can. Spread happiness, not wealth. Give back through private means.
Here are several things to keep in mind this Thanksgiving and every day:

1) Be grateful to live in the U.S.

Given all the political and social turmoil our country is in, it’s certainly easy to put the blame on something to fit one’s narrative. The most popular scapegoat? The United States of America. Do you believe that the cards are stacked against you in America? (Maybe the government, not free enterprise, is holding you back and diminishing your potential to succeed.) Do you complain about America being an oppressor but still reap the benefits of living here? (Perhaps you fail to understand how good you have it here and the freedom afforded to you.) Do you feel entitled to things? (We tend to better appreciate things we earn over things given to us.) Perhaps this is cliché, but America is the last best hope in this world. Our Constitution gives us innumerable rights and privileges unseen throughout the world. If you live here, count your lucky stars. You will never be as empowered as you are here. (Thanks for legally immigrating to the U.S., mom and dad!)

2) Thank those who protect us on a daily basis

One of the important things Americans continue to gloss over is the fact that countless men and women –whether in the armed forces or those in law enforcement–protect us on a daily basis. A lot of them are demonized by those who are quick to paint broad strokes. While few bad individuals fall through the cracks, it’s important to remember that many people sacrifice their livelihoods each day, domestically and abroad, to keep us safe. Thank a vet or a cop if you see one. They are just like us–regardless of position in life.

3) Whatever family you have, BE GRATEFUL YOU HAVE THEM

No family is perfect. You may have political or personal disagreements with some relatives, but family is family. Love them or hate them, blood is thicker than water. Your family will come to your defense when you need it and least expect it. They will always be there for you. Alternatively, you should always be there for them. Love and cherish your family, however big or small it is!

4) Give thanks to god

If you are the praying or religious type, give thanks to God. Even if you’re not spiritual, continue to give thanks to a supreme higher being  beyond our control. The man upstairs certainly has your back–even when you least expect it.


I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the company of loved ones and eat plenty of turkey.

What are you thankful for? Weigh in below!

Guess What? I’m Now a Contributor at Wide Open Spaces!

Hi readers!

I have an exciting announcement to share with you. I’ve been tapped to do some writing for this awesome, newish outdoors blog called Wide Open Spaces. You will be seeing quite a bit of content from me there. I recommend you follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I’ll continue to blog here and elsewhere, but am happy to be expanding my reach to the fishing, hunting, and shooting realms as well.



Check Out My Cameo in Maddie & Tae’s Lyric Video for “Shut Up And Fish”

shut up and fish

While listening to some country music on YouTube today, I decided to listen to Maddie & Tae’s new single “Shut Up And Fish” to see if I’d see my photo submission was included in their lyric video. Low and behold, I did! (From the 00:42 to the 00:44 mark, my picture can be seen.) I’m so honored to have a picture of me with my snook catch included. Thanks, girls!

Check out Maddie & Tae’s  single “Shut Up And Fish” below. Good tune!

P.S. The girls tweeted back at me! Very cool.

New Counter Cultured Article: Kasich is Wrong- Government Shouldn’t Promote Our Values

I’ve penned a new article for Counter Cultured today. I criticize John Kasich’s call to make a department vested in promoting Judeo-Christian values. Below is an excerpt:

Republican presidential candidate and Ohio governor John Kasich recently announced he wants to create a new government entity to promote Judeo-Christian values if he were elected.  I don’t know about you, but this proposal oozes big government overreach.

In a recent speech at the National Press Club, Kasich said the following:

“I will consolidate them into a new agency that has a clear mandate to promote the core, Judeo-Christian Western values that we and our friends and allies share: the values of human rights, the values of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association.”

 While this may sound fine and dandy in theory, there are noticeable red flags in Kasich’s proposal. Why does our government have an obligation to promote Judeo-Christian values? How burdensome will the creation and cost of this hypothetical department be for U.S. taxpayers? Aren’t individuals and private organizations better suited to promote Judeo-Christian values than government bureaucrats?

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

New Counter Cultured Article: Carrie Underwood Can Inspire Us to Tell Stories

Up at Counter Cultured today, I have a blog post about Carrie Underwood’s new album “Storyteller” being an inspiration for effective political storytelling in conservative politics. Check out an excerpt below:

Female country music singer Carrie Underwood has a new album out called Storyteller.  Not surprisingly, her first single “Smoke Break” off the new album is climbing the charts.

When discussing the inspiration behind Storyteller with iHeart Radio, Underwood said the following: “There’s not one specific story that goes through the album, it’s just, there are very character-based story songs, that are personal. They are my stories that I’m telling.”

Underwood, 32, said her new album boasts a “fresh twang.” She added, “There’s a lot of country, traditional, staple instruments, and obviously storytelling is something country music has always done really well. I feel like we occupy those elements, but it’s very cool and very now and very fresh.”

Country music is all about storytelling, and Carrie Underwood certainly channels this element in her latest album. If storytelling has made country music so successful, why can’t we replicate this effect in conservative politics? If our side starts relying on compelling storytelling, especially visual storytelling, we can effectively disseminate our message to wider audiences without diluting our message.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

New Counter Cultured Article: Hilary Duff Gets a Gun

I’ve penned a new article up at Counter Cultured today. It’s about actress and singer Hilary Duff getting a gun. Read a snippet about it below:

Actress and singer Hilary Duff is the latest celebrity to purchase a firearm. Her handgun of choice? A Glock.

TMZ was the first to report on this:

Duff cruised out of a Culver City gun store over the weekend with a Glock case and ammo in hand, though it’s unclear what model she purchased.

It was also revealed that before purchasing the firearm, Duff allegedly got her handgun safety permit. What better way for a woman to empower herself than buying a handgun?

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.


Linked to Red Alert Politics.


Going Back in Time in NYC


I’ve just returned from a weekend getaway to the Big Apple. Any reasonable person would ask, “Why in the world would you go to New York–let alone in early November?” (Lucky for me and my sister, last weekend’s temperatures averaged from the high 50s to low 70s!) Sometimes we need a change of scenery, even for a weekend. (NYC is a quick 3-4 hour train ride north of Washington, D.C.)

NYC is a very expensive place that lures tourists with gimmicks, bright lights, and cool incentives. Amid the dirt, grim, and busyness, there are some hidden gems inset in the Big Apple. One thing I highly recommend doing is taking a trip on Statue Cruises to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Tickets to visit both places range from $18 to $21. Adult tickets are divided into three categories: Reserve Only ($18 for access to the grounds of both places), Reserve with Pedestal Access (access to pedestal of Statue of Liberty included for $21), and Reserve with Crown Ticket (access to grounds at both places, crown of Statue of Liberty for $21). It was the best $18 I’ve ever spent in NYC, hands down.


Below is a picture of me standing in front of the Statue of Liberty. Isn’t she beautiful?

The Statue of Liberty was gifted to the U.S. by the French in October 1886. It was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and erected by Gustave Eiffel, who is famous for also building his namesake Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. “Lady Liberty” stands tall at 305 feet. Originally fashioned as a copper statue, the Statue of Liberty has succumbed to oxidation over the years and now boasts a green appearance.  She is a testament to the principles of freedom and liberty that have come to define our great nation!


Exterior of Ellis Island

Ever since I was a little girl, I had always desired to visit Ellis Island. My sister, our friend Rosa, and I spent a lot of time here today exploring this place that impacted American history in such a profound way. Ellis Island was in operation from 1892 until it formally closed in 1954. Millions of people came through here to seek out and desire the American way of life. This place is a testament to the beauty of legal immigration. America is and should remain a Melting Pot where everyone desires to be American. Although my family came to this country nearly 30 years ago, I sincerely appreciate this place as a first-generation American. #exploretheunknown #InstagramNYC #NYC #EllisIsland #LegalImmigrationLove #SliceOfHistory #AmericaRocks #wanderlust #travelgram #photooftheday #IGNewYork #NewAmsterdam #AmericanHeritage #FindYourPark A photo posted by Gabriella Hoffman (@gabriella_hoffman) on Nov 7, 2015 at 3:08pm PST

Ellis Island is perhaps the most famous immigration processing station in recorded history. Established in 1892, Ellis Island housed and processed millions of people from all over the globe–particularly immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Although it formally closed in 1954, today the museum welcomes tourists to explore and read corresponding pictures, footage, and documents that came to define their day-to-day operations. While it has been subjected to immense scrutiny over the years, Ellis Island served as a gateway for people to come here legally and to achieve the American dream. A mere few sentences about the monument don’t do it justice. I recommend planning a visit and dedicating a sizable amount of time to meander your way through it!

Below is a picture of the infamous Registry Room inset in Ellis Island:

 Here are some interesting tidbits about Ellis Island I wasn’t aware of before:

    • During Red Scare in 1920s, Ellis Island detained individuals suspected of boasting Soviet Communist ties and deported many of them. (Haha!)
    • With the help of land reclamation, Ellis Island grew in size to accommodate the museum, detention centers, and mental hospitals.
    • Most of Ellis Island is owned by New Jersey, not New York.


Wall Street is famous for being the financial capital of the world and is often vilified by Democrats. (Ironically, Democrats receive the most $$ from Wall Street.) But did you know that it’s also the site where America’s first president George Washington was sworn in? Or that  Federal Hall was the original site of the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices in the U.S.? (I knew it was housed in NYC before but was largely unaware it is located right in the heart of Wall Street!) Such a cool find.


Also found in Wall Street: street vendors who sell pro-gun posters. Nice!


And what is a trip to Wall Street without spotting the Trump Building? Supposedly the man behind this will make America great again or something. (Hopefully not!) This is not to be confused for Trump Tower, where Donald Trump takes up residency. However this building is, in fact, owned by Trump Organization.



Midtown is renowned for being a tourist trap, a fashionista’s dream, and occasional foodie paradise. I generally avoid going here if I don’t have to, but I couldn’t resist stopping by NYC’s first-ever Chick-fil-A shop. (Mmmm, delicious hate chicken!) It’s located at 1000 Avenue Of The Americas, New York,NY 10018. As you can tell, the line was YUUUUGE.

In addition to being a tourist, I channel my inner foodie whenever I come to NYC. I tried two new places: Oregano in Brooklyn and Nussbaum & Wu in Morningside Heights. (Fact: it’s virtually impossible to try every single restaurant in NYC, but it’s worth attempting to do so!)
Oregano is located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. It’s known for wood-fired pizzas and delicious Italian cuisine. The second is Nussbaum and Wu in Morningside Heights near Columbia University. It’s a great cafe for breakfast or lunch. (I recommend the egg frittata with a side of bacon!)

Have you visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty? What were your experiences? Let me know your thoughts below in the comments section!

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