wardrobe planning? winter’s checklist

            When you’re having a good hair day, take a picture. When you’re having a decent outfit day, take a picture. When you’re wearing a new pair of shoes, like I’ve mentioned before, take a picture.

            One of my favorite writers once said that she remembers events through outfits. I cherished that quote, not because of the honesty but rather the mere bliss of having that certainty that there’s an outfit ready to go without spending valuable minutes pondering of its level of functionality and/or avant-gardeness. That level of confidence of the quantity of your wardrobe brings about a certain level of satisfaction that only a handful are able to fulfill. Which reminds me that the long grey days of the winter season are up ahead that means I need to replenish my winter wardrobe asap, but this time I’m not going shopping without a preplanned list of the items that I want and need. 

            One of the first items that is officially off of my shopping list is a multi-functional pair of black sneakers that will last me through the season. Although these Nike black high stop air forces need comfortable matching pairs of solid black high-rise socks to match because if not, my ankles will be spotted with unwelcomed blisters. Next up, a pair of leggings that are more than multifunctional but rather multi-faceted with the serviceability of “around-the-house” use but paired with a great over-sized blazer or jacket, can then become “internship-ready”. I had found my favorite pair in Zara and will probably go back to source some interesting pair of bottoms. The next item on my list is to find the best quality basic selection of plain colored t-shirts for my budget. Needless to say, basic or essential, solid colored plain tee’s are not hard to find in the market, but these days quality is and then factoring the one chance that I can choose from a brand or garment that is sustainable is something important. Lastly, the most widely used item in my closet will be the cardigans, blazers, or jackets. My plan is to purchase no more sweaters for the season because sweaters are for squares lol just kidding. Sweaters are an essential part of one’s winter wardrobe, how else will you say to the world that you didn’t want to leave your comforter that morning lol. 

            Wardrobe planning is a balance, like everything done in life, but a carefully planned wardrobe list can yield that much more satisfaction and hopefully end the outfit decision fatigue. If you haven’t felt it, it’s that feeling of prepping before an interview when you’re asking yourself if I have something to present myself with. Although the combinations of outfit ideas are set determined by the business staples and casualwear is whatever is available in your wardrobe, the choices are influenced by your feelings. Therefore, if you feel like you look presentable or good, then you’ll go the extra mile to do more. 

let’s recap cause September was snappy!

            As per usual, September kicked off with a back to school rush and without a snap, September was over. Although truthfully, planning for the semester kicked of during the beginning of August. The last sweet month of summer was overshadowed by meetings over the plans for the semester ahead. Now that this is my final year of my bachelor’s degree, I volunteered to be the secretary of the production management club in my college. Never had I put myself in this type of role before, with these new responsibilities and especially collaborating with a team. I initially was excited but fearful, my fear kicked in whenever I would start thinking that I might do something wrong that comes back tenfold. This fear has always haunted me, which I often have to tell myself to pause and rethink it before it happens. It’s a strange feeling going from two extremes like being absolutely positive about a certain choice or decision and then doubtful about it all. But thankfully, the responsibilities are spread around, just in case we need to pick up after one another. However, even with my doubts, I’m still tempted to take on more and more responsibilities for the sake of getting more experience as a leader. But I need to remind myself that realistically, I can’t do it all without losing something else equally or more important. 

            One particular activity that was introduced to us early on, was a collaboration with an industry meetup group. The collaboration included the club’s execs teaming up other clubs to oversee the production of a full garment designed by the students and then manufactured by an assigned business. The students would then document and present our observations in an event hosted by the meetup group. The collaboration was fascinating to me and I couldn’t wait to get inside an actual factory, but the details of the project were more exciting than what it turned out to be, at least for me. I was assigned to a manufacturer that considered themselves a start-up and I had no clue as to how we would communicate. 

            We made it through and luckily for me, I got what I wanted to experience, which was to initiate something on my own without having someone guide me along the way or telling me what I needed to figure out. I was mindful to stay on track with what needed to be completed, I was mindful about keeping meeting and dates planned out and I kept telling myself that the main objective of this project was “pr” for both of the members of the teams. It was a bit annoying because, metaphorically speaking, I was moving left, while the founder of the business I was assigned to was going right and I’m not referencing political agendas here. I later realized that the cofounder was building her startup using all of her skills regardless of any “real” in depth knowledge of what was introduced in schools or industry. We used that lack of knowledge to our advantage to introduce and speak about her business. She kept reminding me that people, overall, want to hear the story behind the cause most of the time and micro details come later. 

We went to the Botanical Garden

One of my most recent summer adventures included taking us out to the botanical gardens. It was a bit out of the way because the gardens are in the middle of Brooklyn, but luckily, having a car helps get around at ease without feeling like sweaty popsicles in the humidity. But my timing was perfect, mostly because I had planned to visit during the park’s free admission hours that the garden offers and finding parking wasn’t as hard as I anticipated. I was mostly nervous about the parking but once there, the street cleaning rules were just about over. So, I left my parking spot with peace of mind that I wouldn’t be paying a 45-dollar parking ticket. 

As I walked through the entrance, on the left of me, was the garden’s gift shop. As I quickly glanced at it, it had a few plants for sale and other gardening-like supplies, lined up outside of the shop. Although I planned to check it out before I left, I was exhausted by the end of my walk through the garden. The landscape was wide and lengthy with such an interesting variety of plant species that I wouldn’t have seen before. The first thing that greeted us was the Japanese garden and its layout design brought a feeling of peacefulness and calm, which was new and very much needed. The lake was a greenish color with multi colored koi fish grazing the surface of the water. A little description box inside the gazebo described koi fish to symbolize good fortune or good luck along with perseverance especially during adversity. 

Another favorite location that I spend most of my time in, was the Cranford Rose Garden. Every corner of the rose garden was picturesque with a variety of hues popping out of the seas of green. I was in bliss but couldn’t help but imagine how much more vibrant and fuller the roses would be if this were a different time during the season when they were all in full bloom. The garden had a mix of old species of roses that were common before the 1860’s which was a unique fact. Some were small and some were large with variations of white and pink, but one color was missing from the bunch, red. Sadly, I didn’t see any and I was hoping to stumble on a big bush of them, but I found nothing. Which made me wonder in which season do they grow in because as of yet, I haven’t found any bushes with vibrant large red roses. 

I had to pick my battles and after a while it became difficult to guide my toddler, while angling a camera just to catch a moment and trying to embrace my surroundings. I needed to shift my attention and really just enjoy this time with my toddler. I think she enjoyed it although probably didn’t understand what she was seeing. But it inspired me, it was beautiful, inspirational and peaceful, which is a good prescription after a stressful week or a month. Even just for a few hours to de-stress could make everything feel anew. I saw people laying on the grass and reading, some were just sitting and staring at the sights while others were aiming to capture those perfect photographs. What I believe made it more peaceful was that we went in the morning. Mornings are by far the most peaceful times of day, once you’re up, your senses are just coming into focus and that awakening can feel refreshing and enlightening. Another odd thing is that, the garden hardly echoed the loud sounds of the usual heavy traffic around the garden’s location, the middle of Brooklyn, New York. It’s as if the plants observed the sound and echoed bird sounds instead, which seems like quite a bizarre phenomenon.  

Please, don’t stare at my stats

It’s interesting how psychologists and mental health gurus preach about not placing value on the number of likes or views on social media, but if academic success is based on a number. Is it not the same thing? Both could be argued are irrelevant to each other, yet both have an underlying concept; that personal value or worth is derived from a number. personality and charisma contribute as well, but what makes you shine or stand out from the rest are the stats or specific quality so refined that can be measured by some metric. sports are all about analytics and major trading franchise decisions are based on those numbers and in one of my classes titled industrial psychology, the professor had a whole lesson on resumes and cover letters. It was surprising to hear that most hiring decisions are again based on the number of points that a resume generates by decision maker and just recently, my mother-in-law, had expressed to me that she needed to review resumes for a new hire and she based the applicants worthiness by the number of points she gave the resume… it went full circle and told myself isn’t that interesting. If even resumes get graded by number of points, what isn’t measured by a number? And is it possible to grow in a career without tracking success through numbers?

I understand that not everything is based the numbers, but why do we spend most of our lives working to achieve those targets. In the United States and in other countries in South America, for many of us, unless some unusual circumstance, we’ve gone through the twelve plus years in school and have only ascended to the next level because we achieved the requirements that was measured by specific target numbers. I am starting to believe that it’s not wrong or a negative to compare a skill or success by a number, but it’s odd to me how there are mixed messages about the topic. It’s important for people to focus on other traits like those involved with, I don’t know, behind human, understand how to show respect and how to act when you are getting respect, being nice to whomever you happen to interact with and not just because they might be an important person, but because it’s the right thing to do, even if you don’t feel like it.

In some ways, measuring stats is an easy identifiable way to get an overall view of skills or achievements and makes those great achievements that much more recognizable to someone who may not know you yet. Besides this logic, since I started my bachelor’s degree, I’ve challenged myself to be ultra-ambitious. I’ve placed this pressure on myself to achieve all A’s in all of my classes. I’m stepping up to the challenge of aiming for all As, cause truth be told, I’ve never been that student or that studious to be worth As. I’ve got to admit that has always been a contributor to me believing I couldn’t amount to anything. Deep down, I know it wasn’t true, but my confidence would dictate something else. perhaps this is the reason why I do correlate success with numbers because for so long, seeing my status and lack of academic achievements, I would get partially depressed over them and it would make me feel insecure about my future.

It’s definitely a debatable topic, but what do you think? do you believe we are valued by our stats? if we shouldn’t care about the number, why are we constantly evaluated with numbers? do our paychecks resemble those numbers? what do you think?

Sneaker Story Time

Let me tell you a little story about these sneakers. These sneakers took me probably a year to convince myself to actually buy, unfortunately. As I was browsing through most of the options available through the ASOS website for my size, I kept reminding myself that this browsing experience was going to be different! It was going to be different because I was actually going to fulfill the online order and spend some hard-earned money. 

It’s been a tough year and my sneakers are a sure reflection of it. One poor darling sneaker, a pair of black Nike lunar glides, first started with a small hole on the surface of the fabric above the toes. But then gradually widened into a semi noticeable hole, which small pebbles could easily slip through. Another darling, a pair of grey and lime green Nike air max’s, are at point where the outside looks pretty good, but the inside is starting to tear apart. My left ones heal counter skeleton is exposed because of the fabric friction. Lastly my third darling, a pair of grey sketchers sneaker, have bore the manic New York weather from heavy rain to post snowstorm slush and now the inside is not in the best condition, let’s just keep it at that. 

These three were on repeat on a weekly basis, especially during my tough school schedule. For months, I didn’t have other options, or my other options wouldn’t have helped my commuting situation. I wanted to look cute, but I also didn’t want to get blisters. I finally told myself enough is enough, my current selection is on the verge of popping! At first, I thought I was exaggerating but then I heard on the news of a basketball player whose shoe popped during the middle of his tournament in the NCAA, the signs were everywhere and my conscious kept telling me just do it. So, this time I listened. 

I couldn’t have picked a better time, ASOS was having a mid-summer sale which meant that I might be getting a little discount on something. But I just needed to be open minded enough to swoop up something good. It felt like a game at 6am, the excitement of finding a new pair was enough to keep me up. As I was putting some in my cart, I kept scrolling for more and making sure that I wasn’t missing out on page 10. By the time I had a chance to narrow my choices, some of my most coveted items were already gone in my size. No way! I had told myself; I had invested so much of my time on scrolling that time flew by and ASOS has one basic rule that I ignored. In the Asos online cart, the items you pick stay there for only an hour and that little bit of information surprised me. The items I really wanted were gone but I wasn’t going to “leave” without something getting ordered. When I finally fulfilled the order, I felt like I was still missing something but to much time was already invested just to go back and keep looking for other items to add, you know. It was the feeling of what economist would say “opportunity lost”.

To be candid, why did it take me a year to buy something that I desperately needed but didn’t cave in until my items were falling apart: guilt. The guilt of buying something for myself for the sake of vanity was unbearable during times where it was financially tough for our family. Before, vanity would jumpstart an impulsive pattern of buying something without having a designated purpose. Before I didn’t hold back, I had yet to learn the lessons of household economics. But before things changed, we had dual incomes and suddenly in the middle of the year we were down to one annual income. Resources weren’t completely scarce but if we weren’t careful, it could drain fast and the needs of our infant were top priority. I’ve now realized that going through a series of unanticipated occurrences are unforgettable learning experiences, borderline traumatic actually. Which it was for us and which is why, I could do without a new pair of sneakers for a while.

To care or not to care

How much are you supposed to care?

A new mantra I’ve adopted says “it doesn’t matter how much you know, but rather how much you care”. I heard this earlier this year, but it had not been proven true to me until the middle of my most recent school semester. The spring semester was one of the toughest, most stressful, and agonizing school terms as of yet. I took more classes than any other semester, some online and in-class, all while my daughter was entering the “terrible two’s.”

In a few of my classes, I was required to work with partners and for one class in particular, I decided to partner with a student, who I believed was a top student. He had the best grades in class, understood the material and could practically re-teach the whole lecture.

We partnered up for three projects and before we started, he stated how much he did not care about the work we were about to do. He wasn’t interested and who could blame him, but for me, it was different. I did care and was genuinely interested in what we were working on. I didn’t just care about getting a good grade, but was curious about the process and getting a “preview” of something I might be asked to do some day during my career, possibly. Plus, I was taking away valuable time from my family to finish these assignments, no matter how mediocre, I needed a return in my investment and my time. I was going to use the assignment as a trial to build my confidence in myself and learn more about my capabilities. It was a difference of opinions and as long as the work was completed, that’s all we focused on.

We worked well, for the most part but not without some hick ups, naturally. He seemed to have a tough time staying focused since other students would ask for his help and other personal problems. Most of the assignments were rushed to get finished on the last day, but luckily, we both worked fast and efficiently. Once all the work was handed in, we agreed that we had challenged one another in ways we didn’t expect. We had different capabilities and I got to know which areas I was weaker in. Working with someone who approached the problem differently was an interesting learning experience. I was able to see a different side of myself that otherwise might not have been noticed. Through this partnership, I learned that staying humble and patient is the best remedy to staying motivated enough to finish the work together.

Green or Emerald

Finally, little by little, I think I’m getting back to my creative self again. It’s difficult to manage creative thinking with the more logical and reasoning side. For some time now, I feel like I’ve lost that creative thinking side of me. My most recent college semester was really demanding and for the first time in my academic career, I didn’t take some sort of art or self expression coarse. Here’s what I mean, since high school I’ve had some sort of art class that forced me to constantly create something and therefore, I’ve consistently forced myself to think creatively. Reflecting back, it feels like a blessing and curse.

Its a blessing because I got a chance to change my routine, to try a different side of myself that I didn’t understand very much. But within my new degree, most of my classes consist of business courses. I’ve come to realize and compare how much more differently it forces you to think, yet creative courses can take you around the universe and back. Literally the sky’s the limit on your imagination. But taking mostly business coarse’s is a curse because its like building a new muscle, building a new set of skills is tough the first go-around. Luckily the more frequently I use it, the more it becomes second nature and then it starts to feel like it is on autopilot. The only thing is, I’m not bombarded with the types of scenario’s studied in class to consistently practice what I’ve been learning. A skill truly develops once its practiced frequently, but how do I get there without being forced to utilize it?

Here’s a picture of my new nail polish, my logical side would call this green and if I’m being political, then I would say dark green. But I can also call this color emerald. Emerald, a quick google search describes it as the color that encourages growth, reflection, peace and balance. Apparently, the verdant tones reflected in the jewel are tempered by a cool blue that symbolizes a steadfast bond. Isn’t that description beautiful and coincidently describes this post perfectly.