Take a walk

take a walk
These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. I’m still on the search for a job since graduation, as I’ve mentioned here before. It’s not good to feel this way. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been to this place where insecurity begins to take over. On the plus side, there are ways out.

Thankfully, I’m feeling better already. I’ve got the support of family and friends, my health, a place to lay my head and plenty of other things to be thankful for. I have to remember that good things come in time with hard work. I was reminded yesterday, not for the first time, that I just have to have faith.

Friends, family and faith are key for me, although sometimes I forget that.
take a walk
take a walk take a walk
take a walk

Honestly, I’ve never been much of an optimistic person. I’ve always thought of myself as a realist. I think practically. When I was young, I had to be reminded that not everything should be taken so literally. Maybe that’s why my best friends are such positive people. They keep me grounded. We balance each other out. But when I get down, I can go from being realistic to negative.

The thing is, I was hoping that by now I would have a full-time job, be saving up for things like a new computer and car, and be getting ready to move out of my family’s home. I had big goals a few months ago. I have to remind myself that the economy is hard now for everyone. Just because I haven’t reached all those things, doesn’t mean they aren’t attainable. I can’t give up. I don’t want to live with my family forever. Giving up isn’t an option.

Positive habits can help change my perspective in times like this. I wrote about what to do when you’re feeling down last January, but forgot to look at that list until now that I’m already feeling better. I just checked and everything on it still applies.

One habit I’m really trying to cultivate lately is to take a walk every day. If I walk my dogs Max and Penny while the sun is still out, then I’m accomplishing three things on the list. I get some sun, exercise and hang out with animals. When I took these photos above two weeks ago, I ticked three things off. I got sun, exercised and did something creative.

Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed or not, taking  at least 15 minutes out of your day to take a walk can be be very helpful. I encourage you to try it.

Also, reading this blog post by Patty on Barrett All and this one by Anna on In Honor of Design helped me feel even less alone and more encouraged to strive for what I want.

Positivity is a powerful thing. Hope is necessary. Love is beautiful.

P.S. Thanks for your encouraging comments on my latest fashion post. I’ll definitely do more in the future.

If we were to have coffee

Happy National Coffee Day! Yeah, that’s a thing.

If we were to have coffee

I started writing this post about a hypothetical coffee date to catch you (my readers) up on my life a few weeks ago and then saved it as a draft. I’m so inconsistent with posts, but I swear I love to blog. I don’t know why I don’t put in the time to write. Whenever I do it feels so good.

You, know what else is good? Coffee! Let’s pretend we’re having some.

If we were to have coffee right now, I would definitely NOT order a pumpkin spice anything because pumpkin is not my thing and I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not fall yet. We’ve got some time.

I would order myself a great big iced something and offer to pay for yours too. But if you said you’d pay for mine I wouldn’t refuse. I’ll get you next time after I’ve secured myself a job.

We’d pick a nice little table inside because we’ve got to be near the air conditioning. Of course, we’d talk about how hot its been in California and when the drought will ever end.

I’m sure we’d talk about…

Family

I would tell you about the family party we had at my house for the August and September birthdays. My family can be very loud and boisterous. I love them all so much. My favorite right now (oops, did I just say that?) is the littlest one.

My nephew is just so adorable! Of course, it is hard when he won’t stop crying. Oh man. I watched him for an hour or so recently and it felt like much longer. I don’t know how my sister does it. I feel for moms, more than before. He’s only two months. Maybe he will sleep through the night soon. He did start smiling recently, which is the best ever.

At this point, I’ll probably pull out my phone to show you photographic evidence of his cuteness. Look at all these pictures of him smiling!

Then I might tell you how I wish I could spend more time with him. I would be over every day if  I only had a car. I could make a song up about that to the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain,” but nobody would want to hear that.

Career stuff

My job search has been going better. It’s hard not to be discouraged, but I have had interviews, so that’s something. My family and friends have been so encouraging too.

I’d tell you about the career options I’ve looked into and the jobs I’ve applied to. We might compare job search strategies and goals.

Relationships

I might mention how life has felt different since graduating college. It’s harder to meet up with friends when everyone has different schedules. It’s not like when we saw each other three times a week or more for class and then could just go out to lunch in between.

I’d tell you how I value the relationships I have. My childhood friends, college friends, family and boyfriend are all so special. I’m proud of my sisters and brother for working hard in their jobs and being good people. Now I’m getting sentimental. But the older I get, the more I realize you just can’t take things for granted. My mom reminds me of that too. She’s the best.

Pop culture

Have you seen Orange Is The New Black? I started watching it a few weeks ago. It’s so good! My best friend told me about it awhile ago and we watched a few episodes together. Of course I’ve been hearing about it on the Interwebs ever since, but it took my sister, cousin and boyfriend’s sister asking if I’d watched it for me to watch again. The show is good. It’s graphic, sexual, violent and sad. Not for everyone. But it’s also heartwarming.

What TV shows have you been watching? I only have three episodes left of OITNB, so I could use some drama show suggestions. My oldest sister has been saying I should watch Revenge. Have you seen it? I was watching Orphan Black with Paul. Unfortunately, only the first season is on Amazon Prime so we stopped there. I was into Parenthood before that, but the Amber character kind of ruined it for me.

For more lighthearted fare, I go for late night talk shows, comedy specials and cartoons for adults. John Stewart has become my favorite ale night guy. A few years ago I didn’t have a clue. Key and Peele have a cool format for their show that reminds me of Saturday Night Live, except it’s not really that close. I enjoy Bob’s Burgers and Bravest Warriors too. If you’ve never seen Catbug, well, you’ve got to!

So, that’s my life lately. I fawn over my nephew, apply to jobs, go on interviews and watch a ton of tv.

What have you been up to? And what would you order of we were to have coffee together? You can say tea or lemonade or whatever. That’s fine too. ;)

Remembering the Santa Barbara shooting

Santa Barbara shooting 1

Two months ago, a young man went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California, near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara. He killed six people and injured 13 others before committing suicide.

I was sad to hear the news of yet another mass shooting. This time it was so close to home. The day after it happened, I read every article about the Isla Vista community, the shooter, and the victims in the Los Angeles Times. If I remember correctly, there were at least four in the paper.

The killer was out for revenge on women for rejecting him and on men for living a better life than him, according to a video he had posted on YouTube entitled “Retribution.” He had also written a 140-page account of his life titled “My Twisted World”

Whenever a mass killing occurs, everyone is left looking for solutions and wondering what could have been done, myself included.

Should there be more restrictions on guns? Were there any signs that could have showed a plan of attack? What can be done to help improve mental heath-care in the the United States? How can parents help their children, especially if they are over 18?

The last question is one the father of the Isla Vista killer is grappling with as he explains in this interview with Barbara Walters.

shooting site 2

A close friend and I visited Santa Barbara last month. In a few weeks she’ll be moving there for school.

While we were walking around the small Isla Vista community, we came across a makeshift memorial. I took a few pictures on my camera and phone because I wanted to somehow remember it. I don’t mean to be morbid, but I wanted to be able to show others and somehow express my thoughts as I’m trying to now.

I wish there was some way to make sure this never happens again. Unfortunately, this wasn’t even the first mass killing in Isla Vista. In 2001, the son of a director ran over five people, killing four of them.

Mass killings are something that could happen any where. It seems that no town is safe from them. But I’m honestly a little nervous about my friend moving to this place.

I have no solutions to offer, no call to action. If you do, let me know. I’m still left wondering.

Why I’m a feminist

Honestly, I’ve been meaning to write this post forever, but I’ve put it off because I’m nervous about it. But at the same time I think it’s worth sharing why I consider myself a feminist and what that means to me.

“Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

what feminism means to me

Personally, I don’t remember learning the word feminism or ever thinking it was bad. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I grew up thinking that Topanga from Boy Meets World and Jessie of Saved By The Bell were pretty awesome, although now I know they’re not model feminists. Some of my favorite fictional characters when  was young, and still today, include Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, Jo from Little Women and Mulan of, well, Mulan.   The media definitely shaped my worldview of men, women and our society, as I’m sure it did for you, too. Even though there are plenty of negative images and stereotypes in the media, I’ve tried to analyze all of it from a young age and found myself drawn to strong female characters.

It wasn’t until college that I started to analyze and take on the word feminism for myself. In my first Ethnic and Women’s Studies class my third year of college, the professor asked those of us who considered ourselves feminist to raise our hands. I hesitantly raised my hand whole looking around the room to see who else would. But then I thought, “Hey wait, of course I am.”

That led to me learning more about feminism from professors, friends, books and Tumblr. Yep, Tumblr. Here’s some of what I’ve learned and why I’m a feminist.

What feminism has done for me (and you)

Although feminism is a relatively new term in history, the idea that men and women should be treated as equals has been around for longer. And it’s not going away any time soon. First there were suffragettes and then some 60 years later came the women’s liberation movement, which is now considered the start of the feminist movement.

Women are allowed to inherit, own, buy, sell and transfer property now. By around 1900, every state in America had given women control over their own property. Before that, property rights largely depended on marital status (unmarried, married, widowed) and varied state by state.

Women can vote and hold public office. Hattie Caraway, an Arkansas Democrat, became the first woman elected to the US senate in 1932. Thanks to the hard work of suffragettes, women achieved the right to vote in 1920.

Women could and did get fired from their workplaces before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. My grandma was fired after her managers found out she was pregnant with her first child.

Women have more opportunities for education, sports and work in the United States now.

 

Why I still need feminism

Recently, someone started a Tumblr called “Why I Don’t Need Feminism.” You may have heard of it by now, depending on what you look at on the Internet. This Buzzfeed listicle tells about it.  Now, I’m not saying every girl needs to call herself a feminist by any means, but some of these girls have got it all wrong. They’re talking like being a feminist means hating men or thinking women need to be elevated above them, which is not true.

I still need feminism because I believe all people deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or anything else.

I mean, that’s what I’ve been taught since elementary school or before that even! Love your neighbor as yourself. Stand up for your rights. It’s not about playing the victim. It’s about working towards a better future.

Today there a variety of issues feminist stand for, including access to birth control, abortion, same-sex marriage But feminists don’t need to agree on all these issues for them to be considered feminists. Just want to make that clear.

Some of the biggest issues facing women today are violence against women, the wage gap and the poor treatment of women in the media.

Opportunities for education and work for women need to be improved both in the United States and around the world. Less emphasis should be put on body image, which would help not only women, but men too. The world isn’t all that safe for women or the LGBTQ community. This is something we still need to work on.

We need to care for each other as a society and as a world.

 

What do you think about feminism? Do you consider yourself a feminist? What do you think are some of the biggest issues facing women today? Let me know in the comments below.

5 things I learned in college

graduation 1

I graduated college on Sunday. It’s almost been a week already. It doesn’t even seem real. I don’t think it will sink in until I have my diploma in hand.

I have to say, I quite enjoyed college. It taught me a lot. In fact, I feel like I’m forgetting something when I say

1. Education isn’t just taught in the classroom.

I learned so much from the jobs and volunteer experiences I had in college, many of which were on campus. The motto at my school is “Learn by doing.” Honestly, is there any other way?

2. It’s okay to change your mind.

In the four or five years it takes to graduate college (who’s counting, really?) it’s inevitable that you will change your mind a lot. Feel free to change your mind about about your major, who you call your friends, and who to date. Of course, you should have your reasons.

my mom and me

Paul and me

3. Let the people you care about know you care. 

I’ve always been shy. College made me just a wee bit more outgoing. I’m also totally over hiding my feelings. I’ve told guys that I liked them. That was scary. I also made great friends simply by showing them I care.

4. Don’t put yourself in a box.

When I decided for sure that I wanted to pursue writing, I somehow thought I couldn’t also be a photographer and marketer too. But that’s just silly. I was putting myself in a box with only one label. Then I met interesting people with multiple talents and interests. It’s okay to have hobbies. You can be a writer and a science student. Be a photographer and kinesiology student if you want to. You can even be good at more than one thing. I promise.

5. Life isn’t meant to be taken too seriously.

I’m a goofball, but I can also be super serious. As a kid I was often told “Don’t take everything so literally.” I like thinking deeply but life is also meant for water fights and silly games. I had some tough times in college and that only reinforced the idea that I shouldn’t take everything so seriously.

on the screen

Congratulations to all the recent graduates. I hope you all had a great experience. To those still in school, I wish you the best!

Head in the clouds

blue skies

Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago and accidentally pushed publish before adding in the pictures. Here’s the completed piece, as it should be.

It rained today.

My mom excitedly pointed out the rain as I was looking at my computer on the dinning room table. We could see through the dinning room window that there was rain pouring down, but there weren’t any clouds blocking the sun. “There must be a rainbow,” she said. Sure enough, there was practically a double rainbow.

I went right out in the rain with my flip flops, running shorts, tank top and hoodie on. (This California weather changes fast. It was hot a few days ago and I was inside most of today, so I was in lounge clothes.) After about 10 minutes, it stopped raining. I had some photos of the rainbow, a truly beautiful feat of nature, so I retreated inside to warm my feet.

from porch

I got lost in the Internet again. When I looked up from the 10+ tabs I had open and saw the sunset, I decided it was time for another photo session. Queue more cloud photography, a downpour and then hail started falling from the sky. That happens a few times a year where I live and I love it every time.

in motion

flying

dark clouds

Each time I was outside staring at the sky, I thought about how my head has been in the clouds lately. I like to live in reality, but sometimes I get too caught up in thinking about the future, what it could hold, and what it should hold. The things that have been weighing heavily on my mind feel so personal at the moment, that I would rather not go into detail. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to say I’ve been deeply considering marriage and my career both as separate and intertwined things.

As I’m writing this, I just remembered a quote from one of my favorite books and movies, Little Women. “We’ll all grow up someday,” Amy March told her sister Meg. “We might as well know what we want.”

In my experience, this is true. We should know what we want. We should be dreamers and have our heads in the clouds sometimes. Of course, eventually we’ll have to come back to earth and see how our dreams can match up with reality.

I also try to keep in mind that wherever there’s rain, there’s likely to be a rainbow. Take the bad with the good and vice versa. Gray skies and blue skies can exist in the same day, even in the same stretch of sky. So appreciate what you have.

The sky always makes me feel very contemplative. I just have to remember to look up.

 

Putting goals in perspective

spring

I never did reflect on my fall goals because I was embarrassed that I neglected almost all of them. I set 10 goals in fall and ended up accomplishing about two that season.

You see, I was in my last quarter of classes and ended up focusing on school work more than the lofty goals I wrote before the academic year began. I actually ended up getting the best grades of my whole college career. That might not be saying a lot since I’ve never been an A student, but I was happy about it. I got As in three academic classes and ended up with a B+ in yoga because I skipped one two many classes. Whatever. It’s funny, actually, because I usually include “get all As this quarter” on my goal list and I didn’t until I stopped putting it on a goal list.

Now that it’s spring, I feel okay about reflecting on my long forgotten fall goals.

1. Get another internship
I had a short lived internship at the end of summer, but I wanted another afterward to gain more career experience. I actually need to complete an approved internship for course credit to graduate in spring. Although I applied to some in fall, I didn’t get a response back until winter, when I had much more free time for applications. I began two internships in February in slightly different but related fields. So, I accomplished this goal, but in winter instead of fall. Yay hurray!

2. Read at least three books
Honestly, I can’t even remember reading one book. That makes me a little sad. But, like I said, I was focused on school. I had to read a lot of articles for my Multiracial and Hybrid Identities class. Surprisingly enough, I also had to read and write a lot for Meditation and Yoga, although I put a lot of that off for the end. I had to read, watch videos, take photos and create projects for Photoshop class. My Magazine class involved a fair amount of reading too, if you count copy editing, but there was no required book. So, there you go! I did read.

3. See a fun live TV taping and/or a play
Yeah, this didn’t happen either.

4. Submit articles to magazines and/or websites
Yes, I can say I did this. It might have been winter by then though. I submitted a story about grief during the holidays to HelloGiggles and it was published on Christmas Eve.

5. Redesign this blog
Oh silly me. I underestimated how much time I need to contemplate a big project before making changes. I’ve been working on this lately though.

6. Purchase a car and drive said car
I did go through three lessons with a driving instructor in fall and it did me good. Now my mom feels confident enough to let me drive her car while she sits in the passenger seat. I don’t feel comfortable buying a car when I don’t have income coming in, however.

7. Workout at least three times a week
I sort of did this. My yoga class was sort of like exercise and it was twice a week. So much of that class was meditation that it didn’t feel like a workout, but it did feel healthy. I also walked my dogs a decent amount.

8. Start scrapbooking
This still hasn’t happened.

8. Get better at photography and gain confidence in abilities
I bought myself a camera in late August (I think) and it has made a huge difference in my photography skills. It’s so good to own my own camera. I gained confidence in my abilities in fall and have been loving photography ever since.

9. Run a 5K
Two of my friends and I almost ran a 5K at school. But we didn’t. We got lazy and changed our minds.

10. Work on budgeting money
This didn’t happen either. I tried to bring my lunch more often instead of buying food on campus. At least there’s that.

I love making lists and goals. But sometimes the timing just isn’t right or sometimes I just don’t stick to them and that leaves me feeling guilty.

I wonder if I should make any goals for spring or if I should combine my spring and summer goals. I also have a 24 before 24 list going that I want to complete before February 2015. Not to mention I’m graduating in spring and want to secure a job before then. Putting any other sort of to-do list together would feel like too much.

This whole reflection time is reminding me of a line from Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” video and song. “My aspiration in life is to be happy.”

I could make lists all day long. But instead I am going to do what makes me happy and in the process I know I will end up accomplishing a lot!

Cold and wet

me, annoyed

bus stop

I don’t want too much time to pass before I post a few photos from the LA storm this past weekend. It seriously poured on Friday!

In LA, rain makes the news. That’s true pretty much every time, no matter what month or year. It’s not just news for no reason this time, though. This winter has been unusually, which is especially bad considering California produces most of the nation’s crops.

I was glad that we got some rain. I love the sound of rain on the roof. In high school, I loved running in the rain. I was a crazy cross country runner then. But, I gotta tell you, I did not love standing around waiting for a bus to come on Friday afternoon while I stood around in the rain. My bus was 30 minutes late, which I didn’t realize at first, so I stood at the stop for a total of 45 minutes. I say that because I also got to the stop a little early. So, that’s why I look so annoyed in that photo up top. I actually took a selfie because I was annoyed and bored. Plus, posterity of course.

I snapped these pics while I was waiting around. Actually, I was prepared for this. Not only was I wearing my big green jacket with a nice hood, I also brought along my camera and a plastic bag specifically to take photos. I put the plastic bag over the camera to cover it from rain. All I had to do was rip a hole for the lens.

Then I called my Grandma. Thankfully, my grandma was able to meet me halfway, so I didn’t have to transfer buses. We had a few minutes at her house to chat, eat cookies, and drink cappuccinos before I went off to have dinner with friends.Grandma loves the rain, so it was nice to experience it with her, even for just a bit.

turning in water

near Starbucks