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.

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.

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!

Authenticity & it’s four Attributes

During the first day of my internship training, there was a girl in my group who made it her mission to point out to me how “fake” she thought I was. She didn’t say it to me privately, instead, she timed it so everyone else in the group would hear her opinion of me by saying it out loud during one of our quick 10 minute breaks. The girl was not a stranger to me because we had started the same internship program from the very beginning. Her sudden hostility towards me was strange, super random and I was left confused for the remainder of that training day. I had no idea what I could have done to cause her to say that and I couldn’t recall ever being out of line or disrespectful towards her. In order to hide my embarrassment and try to be polite, I let out a nervous laugh because I was trying to brushed it off as if she were telling me an insider joke.

Thinking back to that moment, I was so naive to social cues and didn’t realize when someone was being out of line towards me. I let her continually name call me, although it really upset me yet I didn’t comment back or bother to ask her why she was doing it. Honestly, I thought that I was being the “bigger person” and tried to not let it show that it was affecting me! Needless to say, I kept a fair distance from her and would try to avoid situations where I had to have a conversation other then work. Part of me couldn’t tell the difference between a joke or if it was a direct personal attack and not knowing the difference made me feel insecure, especially when I was around her.

So before I get to my point, I want to share another more recent story of a male coworker who consistently had a snarky comeback whenever I would attempt a causal work conversation. His attitude and mannerisms towards me would feel boorish, meanwhile other coworkers would have nothing but praise for his helpfulness and goodness. I took his animosity personally because it felt like it was gradually getting more indifferent and hostile. Being around him was like walking on eggshells and I would purposely stay clear of his path (although it was really difficult because we all had to work in a tiny office). I wouldn’t ask him for anything or bother with advice and I dreaded being left alone with him whenever the other coworkers left the office during lunch breaks or for any other reason.

One work day I had decided that I had had enough of his toxic attitude and dished it right back to him, exactly how he would towards me. When I looked at his face, his eyes were a little wide and he had a bit of a smirk. He then said, “finally, she speaks for herself.” In that moment, I didn’t know what exactly he meant but after that one comeback, he started being friendlier. Shooting for conversations rather then building negative tension. It seemed like suddenly, this male co worker wanted to have a decent working relationship… go fucken figure.

What I failed to realize was that, ultimately, it didn’t matter what these people said or even how they behaved towards me. What was important was how I responded and handled those different personalities and how much I would let them affect me or influence me personally. If I would have been self-aware, I would have been able to pick up on those subtle shady cues a lot quicker rather then letting my personal feelings decipher what every interaction meant. Here are a list of a few traits I wish I would have learned earlier in life, a set of traits that wouldn’t have allowed for these scenarios to play out the way that they did.

1. self awareness

to have self-awareness is an advantage over those who do not have it or don’t even know what it means in the long term (ei. me). I believe that self awareness is a skill because it means that you understand and trust yourself without a doubt and can’t be easily swayed or influenced. Its a skill build on balancing confidence and vulnerability together although each trait can cancel each other out. It may sound easy, but this is a mindset that is difficult to master because your exposing yourself to the world around you and therefore potentially having others judge you harshly.

2. boldness

boldness is having the ability to be forward and intentional with whomever it may be about whatever you personally believe in. Sharing with them your specific interest without fearing that you won’t be accepted somehow because others might not agree with you. I feel like deep down we all want to get some kind of approval from those around us and maybe even more from people who may not even know us directly.

3. honesty

honesty, the key ingredient for authenticity because it flourishes when you stop lying about who you are and about who your pretending to become. There is nothing wrong about having aspirations of a future better you. But by humbling yourself to see where you are at that moment, where you are mentally and physically, starts the process of self reflection. A quick google search defines self reflection as meditation or serious thought about ones character, actions and motives. From my personal experiences, self reflection is one of the greatest gifts you can give your future self by taking a little bit of time to think about you. I know it sounds selfish but if your rebuilding, the first thing every good home needs is a solid foundation.

4. trust

by learning to trust your actions, your choices become more deliberate and thats helpful because there is no way for sure to know what the opportunity costs are of every option available since time and resources are always limited. Trust can go hand in hand with intuition or that “gut feeling” that we all experience from time to time. Figuring out a way to let go of the expectations from others around us jumpstarts the ways in which we learn to depend on ourself and ultimately trust oneself.

I feel like in our society, being talented isn’t enough anymore but whats important and valuable is being authentic because it allows others to connect with you on a personal level other than the work you produce. By connecting with you, it means they might like you and want to continue supporting you by watching your instagram stories or sharing your tweets. It all kind of comes full circle and with all the different options of connecting with people, your personality will be the dividing force between your work and everybody else.

Looking back, I would have responded differently…

Book Reading List x February Reads List

How do you know what you don’t know?

Super excited for my little selection of books that I got from my local library. Normally, I like to purchase the books that catch my attention but I’ve been noticing an annoying pattern. I purchase the books, get a surge of excitement of all the potential valuable information & gleefully find a spot on my bookshelf for it. Then once its neatly placed in its new home,  my dopamine rush fades away, I forget all about the shiny new book. I don’t bother with it for months until I randomly linger through my selection of books. I truly hate that habit…

I value taking home borrowed books from the library because I know I have a deadline, so in some ways, I place more urgency on them versus the ones I already own. Granted, if I really love the book I borrowed from the library, I’ll purchase it! I sort of preview the content of the books by borrowing them first through the library because some authors just repeat information from other authors or its irrelevant to me or my personal interest. I’m curious, do you do the same?

With that being said, here are a few that I picked for the month which sound really exciting to read! Some I’ve already read which I’m considering writing a little summary blog post about but let me know what you think of the titles in the comments below!

books-7The FAB Mom by Jill Simonian, I loved this book because of the wittiness and ‘so true’ experiences that occurs to all new mothers. The author explained her points like a real gun slinger by getting straight to the point about taking care of oneself right after birth whilst managing the life of your newborn. I enjoyed how she used celebrity moms as a way to emphasize her points because celebrities are just like us except with a little bit more time lol

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I’m proud to admit that I’m finally getting through this book, Going Beyond Mom by Randi Zinn, and I’ve already taken multiple pages of notes on only the first few chapters. My favorite aspect of this book is that its based on personal accounts but of many thousands of working mothers who’ve shared their experiences while growing a business. This book is invaluable because it shows and proves how many other moms have created their own opportunities for success.

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I mean… need I say more? Your Money Life Your 20s by Peter Dunn the title pretty much sums up the gist of the book and the sole reason as to why I had to put it in my reading pile. The first ever book about personal finance I completed was Nicole Lapins Rich Bitch and it was a ton of fun to read because it was like having your best girl friend giving you great informed first hand account advice about dinero. I’m hoping this one would give me a different perspective on managing personal finances especially since now I’m a married woooman.

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Lets face it, some people are a lot smarter then you, they may have more drive then you and when it comes to multiplying their money, they may have more cash to play around with. So I’m a 100.1% committed to learning more about what that 1% know through The Rules of Death by Richard Templar because some day I’ll like to be proud knowing that I “made it” even though I’m considered a minority.

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When I first saw this book casually sitting on the shelf, I thought to myself “wow, this’ll make me not feel so bad about myself”. The title way over promised and didn’t really delivery what I was expecting. Before opening the book, I was expecting some intensive research and information that’ll help me psychoanalyze my mental state like a professional psychotherapist… but the topics and lessons revolved around sports, mostly from football and coaches of professional sports team. Let just say, I raved about this book to my husband because I didn’t even bother reading it more than half way.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight, since I haven’t had the chance to get my hands on The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fck by Mark Manson I’m praying this one will be just as good!

This is it for now, but by the end of the month I’ll probably have about 10 more books that I may or may not get the chance to read before needing to return them back lol!