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?

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.

Starting a Bullet Journal for 2019…

In the beginning of this month, I told myself I needed to find something to track my progress, track my habits, track my activities. The little details of my progress were the breadcrumbs I wanted to leave a trace of, as I improved… yet, I struggled with trusting myself to commit because I had no clue as to where to start and what to try.

One time, I had tried using different journals for each goal category. But different journals work if you can remember what you actually put in them and where you last left them. Also, the added task of reminding yourself to keep updating them. It felt chaotic and messy, making the task of tracking uninspiring and burdensome.

After watching a few Youtubers like Amy Landino and Tasha from one big happy family, I started to feel more prepared to tackle this new journal journey! i decided to reuse a simple Mead spiral notebook, along with different colored sharpies and a few sigma micron pens. I gave it my best artistic typographical attempt for each page heading. Being able to inject a bit of creativity feels refreshing and new, almost therapeutic. I added a section for my long term goals, (micro) February goals and, most importantly, my daughters goals. Other important sections included habits to maintain my health and one dedicated page just for brainstorming content. Lastly, a page dedicated to reminding me of the most mundane tasks needed for the household.

Its never to late to start talking about goals and the different ways that one can use to prepare and tackle them. The small steps completed daily contribute to strengthening those bigger goals. With that being said, I hope you are ready to tackle 2019 because we’ve still got eleven more months to go to make a real difference

Thank you for taking the time to check out this blog post. I hope you find this kind of content inspirational or insightful. What are your goals like for 2019? What are you doing to keep track of them?

Until next time!

Multicolored leaves

Is it still considered Fall after a snow storm?

Probably not, but neither am I really sure and currently to focused on finishing this post to stop writing just to google it. I still consider this time as Fall because the trees still have leaves on them. Albeit, not as much but non the less, they are still hanging on. I find it inspiring to see how many different colors the leaves turn into. Then how the ground is littered with these multicolored shades of yellow, brown and reds with a tiny streak of green. Sometimes I ask myself if these leaves would be a good source of material for creating art pieces. I wonder if someone has already been so bold to ask themselves the same thing and actually make something beautiful out of them. I’ve picked one up just to examine it; to observe the array of colors, to feel the texture and to admire its irregular shape. To bad it’ll be gone soon before I take the time to make something beautiful out of them myself.

Just like seeing how pretty the burgundy hue of the leaves were, I was equally pleased to see how nicely this thrifted Topshop burgundy wool coat fit on me. The arms were not to long or tight around the armhole. The material was in good condition, minus the signature thrift shop scent. The lining was in decent condition, shiny and smooth and the pockets had no holes. It had a detachable black faux fur Peter Pan collar that looked like it had seen better days. I was impressed. The pros were greater then the cons and that made me happy, so I took it home.

Thanks given through a Flashback

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No, no, and nope. I am not going to be cheesy and start to list all the things that I’m thankful or grateful for because, truth be told, there are too many things to list!

I am not a pessimist, neither am I an optimist. I linger somewhere in the middle because that’s my safe zone. In the past, I’ve had to manage a laundry list of mental health issues and would bounce from one extreme to another. Never feeling mentally strong or stable to understand myself and what I needed verses what I believed I wanted. When I was overly optimistic, I would only focus on the activities that were going “well” and that was it. I would miss the bigger picture or the long term goal because I’d try so hard to stay positive about the present or current situation. Then the opposite happened when my attitude become more pessimistic.

As I was clearing data from my laptop, I stumbled on the picture above. I quickly started to reminisce to that moment in time. I was in the middle of the feeding routine, a mundane task that typically last about hour from start to finish. But a crucial one for my daughters development. This picture was part of a series of shots, each seemingly doing something subtly different; Bella facing out the window or me looking down. As my iPhone was mounted on a tripod in the middle of my kitchen, I set up the self timer to capture us during the routine. Although I didn’t feel very confident wearing such a bold floral quarter sleeve t-shirt, I thought I still looked nice and put together. My hair was tied back into a high ponytail and in my mind, it had bounce, shape and length. Just to see the pictures afterwards and realize the only cute one was sitting still in her high chair wondering what the heck was that black thing doing in the middle of our kitchen.

During my postpartum year, it was unsteady but I kept reminding myself that the moment wouldn’t last. I planned to take it easy on myself for the sake of my mental health, but also wanted to find a way to document what was happening in the moment so I can compare my progress. My biggest fear was to somehow permanently impair my sense of rationality. It was a shakeup year and praying to God for an answer taught me what resiliency really meant.

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