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.  

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.

The Pink Lip

Today, I promised myself to try something different and to get out of my comfort zone. Lately, I’ve been going back to the same makeup look. Each time swearing that this time, I might look just a bit different, then the look from the day before. My current everyday makeup look has me feeling uninspired and slightly bored.

Seeing that I already own a few lipstick shades, but never use, I thought that I should give a bold reddish lip a try. I have the shades, along with the fear of testing it out and going outside with it on… does that make me sound a bit silly?… Probably…

After applying the matte red lip shade, my immediate reaction was to take it off. But then I stopped myself for the sake of not wasting time putting. I kept everything else light. My eye makeup minimal, enough concealer to cancel my trouble spots and focused more on contouring along the sides of my cheekbones and forehead. Lips were my focal point and I was nervous as I spread it along my lips.

My fear of testing red lipstick came from believing that I looked weird with it on. I had this internal worry of judgement. When I asked myself if someone had actually told me that red lipstick didn’t suit me, then is when I realized that I was being my own self critique and being a harsh one too! But once I really let go of these insecurities, I asked myself what am I really afraid of? So what was the worry?

Once I really embraced this bold lip look, I felt focused and oddly, empowered. In retrospective, putting on lipstick and wearing was not weird, but rather the boost of confidence I felt, seemingly out of the blue was. It’s funny how that works.

Thank you for reading my blog post! I’m curious to know if you have had a similar experience with makeup? If so, what inspired you to give it a try regardless of these insecurities?

Like always, have a great day!

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!

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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Golden brush strokes

As my family was walking home after visiting our local Salvation Army, we stumbled on a pretty simple wall. It was simple, at least, compared to the other abstract and intricate street art walls surrounding this simple one. The wall was painted black with different brush strokes scattered over the black paint. In the center, what I’m assuming, was the artist’s graffiti signature drawn in a goldish brown hue. It was extravagantly minimalistic but with a pop because of the contrasting colors. It caught my attention from afar and drew me closer to observe the work, very much like an art gallery. I liked that it wasn’t overly conceptualized but neither was it a “wall flower”. The work had a balance while adding balance to the collection of street art surrounding it.

Naturally, I felt it would make an interesting backdrop. I didn’t notice the artists credentials or maybe I just overlooked it. But if you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, take the J train to Brooklyn and get off on a stop called Myrtle ave. Walk a few blocks south and you’ll spot it by making a left in the corner of the Papa Johns pizzeria.

I know I should have taken a picture of the street art by itself. I apologize. I only hope that it won’t distract you from being inspired by my very casual outfit of the day. My rain coat is from Nike. The black fleece pullover, a gift from a family member who traveled to Colombia. The black leggings from Pink by Victoria secret (although a size too big on my petite frame). The navy blue faux leather sack bag was thrifted from a Salvation Army across town. It’s been my favorite go to bag and it’s in great condition. I only wish I knew the brand. Yet again, do I really want to know? Lol

The cute coffee shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

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Over the weekend, my family and I ventured out to another part of town in Brooklyn called Greenpoint. We went out to celebrate my in-laws anniversary and to have some quality family time. We hadn’t set aside time to catch up since I started my first semester back for my bachelors degree and since my mother-in-law works as a professor at a local college, her work schedule has been more demanding. My in-laws have been married for 27 years and were in the mood to try something different. Since they hadn’t tried Thai food, we all went to try a Thai restaurant once in Greenpoint.

As we were walking towards the restaurant after parking the car in a dark residential street, we noticed the brightly lite corner of the residential block we had just parked on. The facade was painted white, with windows wide enough to barely make out what exactly was inside. The more we peered, the sooner we realized it was a cafe, but maybe a bakery? As we walked away, we were left wondering what could be inside.

Once inside, what stood out to me the most was how beautifully delicate yet calming the layout was. The big cooling refrigerator case of macaroons were lined up with multicolored cookies and on top were cakes of different flavors. The back walls listed the menu in chalk, as well as positive messages on other walls also written in chalk. Everything available looked appetizing and minimal decor was inspirational.

I could envision myself leisurely catching up on my reading while sipping a cup of cocoa on a cold winter day, if I lived close by that is. I was mesmerized & enjoyed those extra lingering minutes just sitting on that white painted chair after we had finished our melted marshmallow chocolate dipped desert.


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