Be Pretty Like You

"You don't have to be pretty like her. You can be pretty like you."

One thing I wish I could tell my younger self is how beautiful it is to be oneself. To be your unique self.

I remember when the self-judgment began to take over my life in middle school and continued through high school. I'd compare myself to other girls who'd get more attention, who'd exude confidence and seem so happy. I had no friends really and I tried so hard to be a part of the "in-crowd," (which only damaged my self-esteem even more). I had been rejected by not only boys but girls who'd felt embarrassed to be seen hanging out with me.

Along the way I began to question myself more and more, wishing I could be someone prettier, curvier, and popular. I anticipated the day that I'd fix my smile and finally become confident enough to cause people to gravitate towards me. But in the meanwhile, I was scared of starting conversations and was intimidated by people who depicted my (then) idea of beautiful. I became jealous and envious and started to damage myself mentally. To be quite blunt, I had thought about suicide but I've always had the inkling that I have something great to offer the world. I just couldn't do it. 

I was bullied for being skinny and petite. I was especially bullied for my crooked teeth and bushy eyebrows. It was so uncomfortable and seemingly unfortunate to be me. I became so self-conscious that I didn't want to show skin. I literally wore pants for five/six consistent years. 

The first time my legs saw the public eye was at a business conference for a club I was in sophomore year of high school (or maybe it was junior year). I remember feeling like everyone was staring but also feeling so free! And my legs were SO white. I mean you can imagine... they hadn't seen the sun in years. 

I also never fully smiled in public. Or even in private. I was so embarrassed of showing my imperfect teeth. And I always felt like it hindered my personality because I've always been a smiley person, a person that laughs a lot. Not being able to enjoy my laughter and exercise a full smile bothered me forever. 

The first time I revealed a full smile was a selfie I took in Paris three years ago and posted on Instagram. It was a big, BIG deal. It hit me all of a sudden that my teeth were finally straight and my smile was "picture worthy." 

At that point I finally felt like I could be my true self. Inside and out.

Once I got my braces off I felt invincible. Really. 

But I've always been the same girl.

I'm still the "ugly duckling" from middle school. I only changed what I allowed the public eye to see. I had always thought to myself whenever I was rejected by people how much they're missing out on an awesome, dope, funny girl. 

For some reason, I needed the confidence to let my personality shine. I needed to be "pretty."

I knew that the day would come. When I'd finally be myself. I wasted so many years being quiet, being intimidated, shy and self-doubting, that now when I see myself doing outgoing things I can't believe it. I'm living the way I'd always longed for.  

I had it all wrong though. So wrong. I shouldn't have exhausted so much energy worrying about what others thought of me, comparing myself to other girls, damaging my self-image. So many wasted years. 

To this day I still don't understand why humans judge each other so much. Especially on outer image. You know how many awesome people you miss out on just because they don't live up to your standards of beauty?

But I don't regret those years because I learned. Now I understand. I can relate to the loners, the rejects, the bullied, the self-conscious little girls that have it all wrong. 

That's why it's my mission. To enlighten the mentalities of younger women and have them realize just how beautiful they are - skinny, short, crooked teeth, thick eye-browed, awkward and all. 

So if I could tell my younger self something, I'd say:

"You don't have to be pretty like her. You can be pretty like you." :)

Don't Know What's Coming But I'm Hoping It's A Little Something Like This

@annariflebond

@annariflebond

If you read my last post, you know that 2015 was on both ends of the emotional spectrum. It was incredible and it was horrible. But that has been said and done and now the new year has commenced! 

Although I believe that nobody should wait for the new year to start anew (if you really want to change something, do it now!), I admit that there's just something so refreshing about January 1st. Like a breath of fresh air. Like a gust of new winds. Like a clean slate. 

Get busy doing things you love and your destiny will find you.

I'm really only focused on love (+ mindfulness). 

I've entered this new year with the knowledge that love heals, creates, inspires, and attracts (good vibes, opportunity and light). And the slightest dim in your light can make way for negativity.

Everything that I get myself involved in, I want to make sure I love it! If I don't love it, or if it doesn't make me feel good, it'll be eliminated from my space. No ifs, ands, or buts!

Your space is so sacred. And you should always take the time reflect + realize + renew the energies you keep around you. Like this one amazing woman who I follow on Instagram, Lalah Delia, always quotes - "Vibrate Higher Daily."

From what I witnessed first hand last year, when I was attuned to my soul and in harmony with the universe, everything was so lovely! My radiant aura conspired so much beauty in my life. And I already feel myself back on that path.

Even through my writing can I notice my state of being. 

The steps to this journey are simple too, honestly, though it does take awareness. I really like this quote that says: "get busy doing things you love and your destiny will find you."

So that I shall do this year. Just fill it with things I love to do! More spontaneous travel (& more planned travel), ideas to be brought to life and projects to be commenced (super excited for), more hugs and an understanding ear, more cooking + baking, more interviewing and sharing stories, more dates with nature... you get the idea!

Of course I do have some basic (but essential) resolutions like: drink more water, stretch more often, and meditate + journal + read daily.

I really don't have any expectations for the "outcome" (I guess you could say) of this year. I've learned that it is best not to have any. All I know is that with goals, hard work and kindness amazing things happen. So I'm hoping it's a little something like that! 

Happy journeying. :)

The Year of Acceptance

2015 was definitely a roller coaster of a year. In the past twelve months, I found myself at the highest peak of confidence, achievement and self-love and also at the lowest of lows. 

You'd think that'd be impossible right? I mean, you'd think that once you've experienced yourself at your best all around you'd learned how to keep yourself there because it's so amazing. But that's not how it went for me. Not at all. 

It was a year full of many pivotal moments. Most new to me. And others familiar, but hard to overcome. 

As I reflect on it all, lack of acceptance and the need to control the outcome of certain situations caused almost all of the pain that I endured this past year. It's kind of crazy to think about everything I experienced in 2015. But I have no regret, nor do I have resentment, because I learned a plethora of lessons. 

I had everything going for me in the beginning of the year. My braces were taken off (this was huge for me)! The charity event I had always dreamt of creating since I was little came to fruition with the help of many individuals and businesses in my community (which was amazing). I fell in love with a beautiful someone who fell in love with me and over the course of the year became one of the most special human beings in my life. During spring break I spontaneously drove to the Grand Canyon with this special someone and was awed by its vastness for the first time (even flew over it in a helicopter)! Soon as I got back I enjoyed a trip to Mexico with some of my closest friends. I graduated and attained my bachelor's degree, receiving special recognition in the ceremony as a significant student who made an impact in my university. 

It was all humbling and incredible. 

But post-grad awkwardness and depression kicked in. Didn't think it was a real thing but it is. On top of that I got kidney stones and suffered through that over the summer. My lease ended and the couch in my moms living room suddenly became my new space for the next six months (the lease to my new place actually just began yesterday, yay!). I was unemployed (hence, broke), homeless (what it felt like), witnessed someone falling out of love with me and everything else started to fall apart. 

Not having my own place, not having the security of school and all the things I had going on at the time, not having my good health and not being able to go to the gym, not having my own income... all of this took its toll on me. It unfortunately got the best of me. My aura wasn't as radiant anymore, my self confidence plummeted and I just wasn't myself. It negatively affected the new relationship I was creating with my lover and ultimately ended it. It affected the wave of opportunities that naturally came my way when I was on top of things. It affected a string of friendships and family members. It was horrible. 

Everything just wasn't going my way. I took it out on loved ones. No longer was I my grateful, free-spirited, happy self. I lost myself.

Lots of patience, journaling, a job on my hands and (sadly) a break-up later... I started experiencing the come up. The reestablishment of self and surroundings. 

I had to let go of many things to find myself. Many relationships were no longer healthy and I needed to replenish. I was alone for a bit and delved into books. 

Towards the end of the year, things were still tough. But by this time it was more so my break-up more than anything that was getting to me. Everything was (slowly but surely) coming together: I found roommates and a new home to move into the start of the new year, I finally had my job and my steady income, but most importantly I found myself again. 

It was... such a breath of fresh air. Feeling like my awesome, pretty spirited self. 

I am not going to lie. I made so many mistakes in 2015. It was kind of ugly. And I'm glad it's over with! Even feeling just "okay" felt so good because darkness had accompanied me for so long. 

That's the thing though. Once again did the littlest things make me so happy. 

Being able to buy my own groceries, even if it was just a dozen eggs and almond milk, made me feel like I was such a success! Like that one scene in Step Brothers when Brennan (Will Ferrell) walks out of Costco feeling like a million bucks after being able to get himself some toilet paper, ha!

I couldn't have overcome it without a few things (well, I could have but it would have taken much, much longer to heal): "The Mastery of Love" by Don Miguel Ruiz, my best friend Kayla, my family, the Vance Joy station on Pandora, and a change of mindset. 

The mindset of accepting things the way they are and not imposing my idea of the way things "should" be. 

I'm really content with the way 2015 ended because I was able to welcome the new year with a fresh perspective on life. I am so, so grateful that it all came together just in time. 

Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot of centering to do. A lot of self discovery to be made, love to be given and strength to be built but I am here. I am alive. I can breathe deeply and fully. 

I am blooming once again. And it's still Winter. 

Simple Things to Be Thankful For Today (& Everyday)

Life can get the best of us sometimes. We get so caught up in the moment that we forget to look at the bigger picture. 

Let's admit it - it is easy for us to see the bad in things, (it's in our nature), and all it takes is a Facebook log-in, a scroll through the newspaper, and a bad experience to not only take us there but sometimes even keep us in a rut. 

Yes, we are all different. No one journey is the same - the same time that one person is experiencing the best time of his or her life, is the same time that someone is experiencing his or her worst. But we can all relate to the unexpectancies of life - the heartbreak and successes, the silly mistakes and unfortunate luck,  the best of times and the worst.

But in the midst of our personal chaos, there really is always somethings to be grateful for.

Here are ten simple (yet grand) things:

There is always something to look forward to. If you're going through rough times and it gets worse, it can only get better. Truly. If you're going though the best of times, it can still only get better. 

Some of the best days of our lives still await us! And that's extremely encouraging.

Having a new beginning is up to us. Only you are responsible for your own actions and your emotions. Everything is what you make of it. You can choose to be happy, you can choose to be sad, and best of all you can choose as many fresh starts as you wish. 

It's easier said than done, but it's awaiting you. 

The ability to dream (& act upon them). Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a dream and actually have the opportunity to take action. We can all dream but to be able to know that whether or not your dream comes true is up to you is something to be extremely thankful for. 

Plus, I'm guessing you're either reading this on your phone or computer (and you can read!) - so you're already way more fortunate than many others.

Time is on our side. This being true in two ways -

One being that it is fair to all of us. We all have the same amount of hours in a day, the same amount of days in a week, and the same amount of weeks in a year. Like a quote I once read:

Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human has the exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.
— Denis Waitley

The second being that time heals all.

We are growing older. Though some may hate to face the realities of getting older, it's a part of life that not everyone gets to experience. Some will never get to accomplish lifetime goals: attaining the dream career, meeting the grandchildren, finding the love of your life, etc. So look at it this way - the older you get, the more you get to experience. 

Our bodies. Our bodies love us so much. All they live for is to keep us alive. It makes sure we breathe while we sleep, it heals bruises, and it stops cute from bleeding. It'll go so far to fix broken bones and find as many ways as possible to beat the illnesses that might get to you. Your body literally loves you so much! Be thankful for all that it does and love it back.

Laughter. If you can still manage to laugh when everything seems to be going wrong, it's a sign that everything is going to be okay and you are okay. Laughter is the purest form of happiness and hope (and it can't come without a smile)! 

Whenever I am undergoing difficult times and I catch myself letting out the slightest laugh (at anything), I can't help but think to myself that you know what... I guess I mustn't be doing too bad because I still have this in me. 

Love. It lets you feel what it truly means to be alive. Love doesn't disappoint, love doesn't hurt. Love is the most powerful healer and builder and influencer. Giving and receiving love is the most human, most beautiful and most innocent thing to experience. 

The fact that we can all relate. When we feel like we're alone, we're really not. You are not the only one on this planet that has ever experienced any sole thing. Yes, of course, no one story is the exact same. But at the root of things, someone out there has experienced a version of what you are going through. And it's relieving to know that just like them, you can overcome it too (whatever that may be). 

Good AND bad moments. Good moments are great. Those are easy to feel thankful for. But bad moments are great, too. I know it may be hard to see them as such when we are experiencing them but what we tend to overlook during bad moments is what they are teaching us. We're learning to appreciate, to cherish, and we're learning about ourselves. What greater thing in life than to get to know ourselves more? How strong we are and how much stronger we can be, what we thought we wanted but actually don't. It's all to our benefit. 

#FeelGood15

If you have been rocking with me since day one, you probably read my resolutions for 2014 in my blog post titled "#FeelGood14," (or have seen me use that hashtag in my Instagram posts). 

All my resolutions for the year revolved around simply feeling good, as they will for 2015 too. Feeling good in all that I do, say and believe. 

I never really was one to write all my resolutions down as to where it'd be a post but seeing how successful #FeelGood14 was for me, I'm looking forward to sharing #FeelGood15 with you (and invite you to join me in using such a clever title over "New Years Resolutions").

What makes resolutions successful, in my opinion, is staying true to yourself and being realistic. Instead of saying you're going to "get fit," how about you just start by saying you'll stop drinking so much soda or you'll walk the dog around the block every weekend. 

One of my friends wrote a different resolution (or goal) for each month of 2014, like no alcohol in the month of April. I thought that was so clever! 

So here is my #FeelGood15 and whenever I post something on social media that relates to any part of it, I will be using that hashtag.

  • Stretch everyday. You know when you first wake up and you do that morning stretch in your bed? And it feels so good! Why don't we do it more often? Stretching feels great and I've always wanted to be more flexible. Simple enough.
  • Follow my "personal legend". If you have read Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist then you'll understand what a personal legend is. If you have not, I suggest you add that book to your list of "Must Read". In a much less intriguing explanation, a personal legend is one's destiny. How am I going to follow my destiny you may ask? Well, with the guidance of my heart and happiness.

  • Be less distracted. Honestly, sometimes I catch myself spending too much time on social media. I had this problem with Facebook long ago. I deleted my Snapchat and I feel much better. I like my privacy. No need for the public to know all that I do. So I vow to use social media as a treat rather than a part of my schedule.

  • Stay hydrated in mind, body and soul. My mind will be hydrated by reading more books. I hadn't been captivated by books since the Magic Tree House series when I was younger. When I ended a poisonous relationship two years ago I started reading books about relationships and love. My sister recommended The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of my favorite books to this day. I then got into self-help books and went from there. I'm excited to read more. My body will be hydrated by continuing to eat healthy, eat good and remaining active. I vow to drink more water. Taking care of your own body the way it naturally takes care of you is true self love. My soul will be fed through music and love. Music moves me in ways that I cannot even begin to explain and love... well, love is love.
  • Be fearless. I finish my college career and obtain my B.A. in May of 2015, I can admit I am a little scared. That is why I want to focus on not having fear of the unknown. I want to embrace all the change that will come in the new year and enter new worlds courageously and confidently.
  • Focus on progression. There is no looking back, no time to waste, no giving up or giving out. I want to feel accomplished in everything I set my eyes on and continue to make headway. Tunnel vision to my goals and no comparing myself to others. I want to continue reflecting on each year and be able to say, "I've come a long way."
  • Create as much as possible. I am a creator of many sorts. I want to write, rhyme, publish, love, build and produce as much as I can with my own two hands! I love creating. In 2014, I created this website. In 2015, I want to continue working towards creating my empire!
  • Be in front of the camera more. Since I was little I always said I'd like to have a career where I could be in front of the camera, yet I've never actually really been in front of the camera. It's time to give it try and actually find out whether or not I'm passionate about it.
  • FEEL. I want everything I touch to feel my soul and in order to do so, I must feel it. I want to truly and completely feel all that I am involved in this year and every year following. From the food that I eat to the squats I squat, from the words I write to the confessions I listen to, from the art I create to the hugs I give - everything.
  • Handwrite a book. Inspired by Alexandra Elle and the positive feedback from my fellow peers, I have decided that I want to handwrite a book, pass it along to people and see where it goes from there. I don't want to spill too many of the beans but let's just say it's going to involve a lot of my own perspective, my own poetry and lots of quotes written by me. A lot of people have come to me for advice and positivity and I, also, am told by people that they enjoy reading what I write on Instagram, so, might as well put something together.

What's your #FeelGood15? I invite you to use the hashtag in all that you post in social media that contributes to you feeling good this year.

Happy journeying! 

31 Instagram Accounts You Might Want to Follow

Have you gotten tired of your Instagram feed? Are you seeking inspiration or good recipes? Or just something else?

Well, lucky you! I don't follow that many accounts on Instagram but I like to think that the ones I do follow are ones you should take a peep at. 

Here's a compilation of my favorite Instagram pages, listed under their respective category. 

Best "I Wish I Had All This Clothes In My Closet" Accounts

@VIVALUXURYBLOG by Annabelle Fleur 

@TROPROUGE by Christina Caradona

@OUTFITGRID 

Best "Good For My Soul" Accounts

@LALAHLOVEBLISS by Lalah Delia 

@ALEX_ELLE by Alex Elle

Best "Eyes Behind The Camera" Accounts

@ANDRES55 by Andres Tardio

@WHATS_A_YAYO by Yayo Ahumada

@NOIS7 by Robert Jahns

Best "Makes Me Want to Go to the Gym" Accounts

@SQUATGUIDE

@FITGIRLSWORLDWIDE 

Best "Healthy Food Never Looked So Good" Accounts

@GOLDFENGER

@HEALTHYALWAYS by Danijela Unkovich

@FITALICIOUS_ME by Vevian Vozmediano

Best "You Always Make Me Hungry" Account

@CHEFEDUBBLE by Chef E. Dubble

Best "Positivity" Accounts

@DANACHANEL by Casey Dana Olivera 

@NATHANAELLARK by Nathanael Lark

@SIPOFPOSITIVITEA by Allynn Tay

Best "You Make Me Read A Lot But I Can Relate" Accounts

@ROBHILLSR by Rob Hill

@MISSSAYWHATSREAL by Melissa Molomo

Best "Astrology for All Signs" Account

@KNOWTHEZODIAC by Scorpio Mystique

Best "Idk Why I'm Following Exactly But I Love Your Page" Accounts

@CRIMEBYDESIGN

@JUSTDANADANE by Dana Dane

@LAPESI by Victoria Valenzuela

Best "Celebrity Pages Looking Like They Can Be Art Galleries" Accounts

@MIGUELUNLIMITED by Miguel

@BEYONCE by Beyonce

@GWEELOS by Willow Smith

Best "A Lot of Selfies but We Love 'Em" Accounts

@BADGALRIRI by Rihanna

@ITSDONBENJAMIN by Don Benjamin

@SELENAGOMEZ by Selena Gomez

Best "You Should Follow These Because They're Mine" Accounts (lol)

@lifeof_J by Jocelyn Valencia

@JRec_gnize by Jocelyn Valencia


Have an Instagram account(s) you'd like to recommend? Leave a comment with the account name below! 

A Few Things To Keep In Mind This Holiday Season

As I got older, I started realizing the routine of the holiday season. It's the same every single end of the year.

Come the first of December, everyone is thinking of ways to check off any last resolutions of the current year and thinking of new resolutions of the year soon to come. Come mid-December, everyone is rushing to make plans and make money for two of the years biggest holidays. As Christmas peaks around the corner, all most people think about are gifts (kids on the receiving end and adults on the giving end). 

December is a month full of emotion and routine and ultimately, expectation. 

We are expected to spend and we expect to receive. We are expected to live up to the expectations of the holiday season and forget that we all live under different circumstances.  

It's a given that we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to notice the little things, as cliche as that is. Especially in the hecticity of December, we tend to miss the bigger picture (well, most of us do). 

Here are a couple things to keep in mind tonight all through the New Year, and perhaps keep in your pocket for later, with the help of my personal perspective. 

I remember when I was younger, when I would go back to school after winter break, everyone would ask everyone, "What did you get for Christmas?" I never looked forward to being asked that question, in fact I'd try to avoid it, simply because it was a reminder for me that my Christmas wasn't "as good" compared to others. 

Here is a simple and perfect example of expecting to receive. 

Keep in mind that we don't all receive tangible gifts. No two households are the same. No two families can afford the same things. Some people have never even held a gift. 

Keep an open mind. 

I remember the family traditions I had growing up. Huge family get togethers: on my mothers side we would be in Mexico on the night of Christmas Eve and with family on my dads side the morning of Christmas Day. We'd, also, get together for Canada's Boxing Day on the 26th and watch the fights on a huge '90s television.

Now, there are little to no family get togethers, aside from my immediate family. The amount of people at the dinner table has gotten substantially smaller as the years have gone by.

As I reflect, I come to appreciate the now. I cherish every holiday season because I've come to realize that you truly never know how different things will be the coming year (or the next day, really). 

Not everyone has a big family get together to look forward to or even a family to enjoy company with. 

Keep a present mind. 

All my life, I have witnessed my mother and father stress about giving me and my brothers the "perfect" Christmas. 

I would see my parents work extra hard and put in extra hours at work just to bundle up enough money to get us at least one thing on our Christmas lists. They were so worried about having nothing under the Christmas tree and seeing the disappointment on our faces. 

With expectation comes disappointment. People become accustomed to either receiving or witnessing others receive that when it doesn't go our way, the holidays are ruined. 

This is one of the biggest ongoing mentalities that keep us from truly enjoying the holiday season. 

Keep a grateful mind. 

Our expectations, comparisons and customs give us the inability to step out of our bubble and see the bigger picture.

It's not about how many or what gifts we receive, it's not about whether we have or don't have enough money... it's about love and peace and the good in our lives. 

The next time you want to ask someone what he or she got for Christmas, keep in mind that he or she might not have gotten any. 

The next time you are around your loved ones, even if your loved one is you yourself, keep in mind that nothing is more precious than the present moment. 

The next time you stress about not having enough money to give or create an expectation to receive, keep in mind the true meaning of the holiday season. 

Keeping all these things in mind will open your heart to the magic of the season. It will allow you to not only cherish the holidays, but to share that spirit with others. 

Be open. Be present. Be grateful. 

My Relationship with Food

I have always connected food with the soul. 

From a very young age I learned to appreciate food.

Sorry to mention this mom, I know you tried your best to not let us notice the struggle we were undergoing, but I'll never forget one day getting home from a long day of school and being extremely hungry. I open the pantry and I had never seen something so empty. My heart dropped in disbelief. I remember thinking, "Wow. Times are really rough right now." Well, en español of course.  I even cried for a brief moment. 

I open the fridge, the freezer and once again the pantry in hopes that perhaps I overlooked a possible meal. Nothing. 

My only option was a can of corn. 

Don't worry, though, Ama. I loved corn. Still do. 

Again, my mother made miracles happen. Just like Tupac's mother made a dollar out of fifteen cents. She never let this happen. The electricity may have been cut off, the hot water may not have been running for a few days until she somehow was able to make a payment, but she always made sure there was food to fill our stomachs. Even if that meant she'd only have a bite. 

She'd probably be embarrassed of me sharing this but she shouldn't be. Because although, at the time, my father was still around, he wasn't dependable or organized with money. My mother was always (and still is) stable and smart with her money. She had to be. 

So no, she has no reason to be embarrassed. 

Because of my mom, because of days like these where I had to conform to simplicity, I learned to truly appreciate a full meal, a hot shower, and a hardworking mother. 

I became addicted to the Food Network channel.

I was fathomed by the variety of foods, the colorful combination of ingredients, the way they'd mince garlic and crack eggs with one hand. 

Everybody in the house would get hungry, whoops. 

But I loved it! It's like an NBA player describing the first time he picked up a basketball and fell in love. Or the first time an artist picked up a paintbrush.

Except I couldn't afford to buy all these ingredients. So I would just study all these chefs. My eyes would observe how to grip a knife and not let the blade completely escape the cutting board when chopping a vegetable. I would take note of what foods compliment each other and go on to daydream what other combinations may be delicious. 

Going to the grocery store was my favorite. Like a kid in a candy store. All I saw was recipes waiting to be created, delicious foods to be made, and new flavors to be tasted. I'd go down every aisle and be happy just looking at all this possibility, just like I do today.

My best friend says I take too long when I go to the grocery store. Well this is why. 

So when my mom would get home with a handful of grocery bags, she looked like Santa with a duffle bag full of gifts. 

Those days were automatically great days. I would offer to cook dinner for my whole family and breakfast the next day, too. I'd attempt to somehow cook a recipe I saw on television and make substitutions where needed.

I fell in love with food. 

It became my therapy. It was my escape. I thought of nothing else but what was right in front of me: my two hands, a dull knife, and a handful of ingredients waiting to be prepared however I wished. I got to decide what paired with what and how much of one ingredient I wanted instead of another. It's truly an art. 

The best part was that after all this fun I got to sit down and enjoy my end result. I fed my happiness and I fed my stomach. It made everyone else happy, too. I mean, who doesn't love a home cooked meal?

I experience(d) nirvana every single time.  

You know how the rat in Ratatouille closes his eyes when he takes a bite of something and all these beautiful explosions of color are going through his mind while jazz is playing? And he tries to get his brother to really savor the beauty of each ingredient coming into to one? Yeah, like that.

Such a good movie.

The pallet is my canvas and I want to paint it with delicious colors. 

From the day I could pick up a spoon, I was stirring things up in the kitchen. I'd stand by whoever was cooking a meal at gatherings and at home, observing. The days I had to conform to a bowl of noodles just made that one full meal extra special. Plus, I learned how to make a bowl of ramen look like it came out of a gourmet kitchen.

Now, every meal is special. Even if I'm only cooking for myself. From cutting a potato a certain way to decorating the plate, I make the most of it. 

And I love cooking for others because not only am I feeding them but I'm, also, sharing my art, sharing my passion, and (I like to think) tapping into their soul. 

I'm grateful for that one can of corn because that one can of corn created my passionate relationship with food that I wouldn't have found if I had two cans. 

One morning, One decision, One summer, One hour

Taking my love for Hip Hop to another level started when I took a course called "Rap, Culture, and God," spring semester of this year.

After taking that course I decided to enroll in the Hip Hop minor offered here at the University of Arizona's department of Africana Studies, having introduced the nation's first Hip Hop minor (maybe even the world).  

This, at the moment, was what I thought would embark me to become not just a fan of Hip Hop but a student of Hip Hop (and it did). 

As summer vacation soon approached, I decided to see if I could possibly apply what I had learned so far into the field. It felt like a long shot because I was, truly, fresh off the boat and was well aware that there was much more I needed to learn. But what can you lose from putting yourself out there and seeing what can happen, right? I knew I was passionate enough. 

So there I was, visiting all Hip Hop related websites, many of which I frequently visit and others that I had stumbled upon for the first time. I looked for that "Internships" tab or the "Contact" tab, typically at the bottom of the sites homepage and sent in my resume and cover letter. 

Time passes and I receive a reply from the Editor in Chief of HipHopDX.com, Justin Hunte, simply stating, "Our internships are based in Los Angeles. Will you be able to work out of Hollywood for the duration of the program?" And all I read was possibility. 

[Of course, there was a process of e-mails being received and sent, questions being asked and answered, and clarifications from both sides to be made within this period.]

Although I only had two weeks to make it happen, I did. 

I put in some extra hours at work, collected enough money to change the tires on my car, moved out early from my apartment at the time and found a place to stay in Los Angeles. 

From one morning, one decision, and one summer, my life changed forever. I went from a fan, to a student, to an intern, to a contributor of Hip Hop. Now... I am all of the above. 

The internship lasted a little over two months and I returned home right back in time before my senior year of college started. 

Within those two months, I met and made friendships with some amazing people. Not only that, but I worked under some of the most talented and respected (in my eyes) journalists in the industry. 

Before departing the HHDX office, Justin Hunte had what he calls "exit interviews" with each of the Summer 2014 interns. Exit interviews are simply meant for seeing the interns perspective on the program, what improvements can be made, and reflecting on the experience, usually lasting about fifteen minutes. 

Of course, my exit interview lasted no where near the fifteen minutes. I mean, who could blame me right? I was talking to the Editor-in-Chief of HHDX! "The Company Man." The man who changed the course of my summer, offered me the opportunity of a lifetime, and now I had the time to sit down, one on one with him. 

One hour later the interview ended with me asking him all the questions. I learned an abundance of information in this one hour just as much as I did over the course of the two months. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I did learn a lot! If it wasn't for the DX Daily we easily would've been out there (in the patio where the interviews took place) for at least another hour.

Needless to say, in that one hour outside under the California sun, I got a horrible shorts tan. Three months later and I can still see the tan lines. It was all worth it though! 

Even though I wish we had more time to talk that afternoon, I got enough from that interview to recognize Justin Hunte on the site and do a write up. I know eventually, I will be able to add more to the story. But until then...  I hope you enjoy what came from the one hour that I had with "The Company Man."

The Ideal Body

We now often find ourselves trusting the fate of our bodies in the hands of someone with an "ideal" body. With today's technology and endless opportunity, anybody can become a self-taught personal trainer, a self-taught chef and a self-taught business owner. 

Instagram is filled with people who post healthy recipes, fit selfies, and life quotes (I'm guilty of all of this haha). And followers go on to trust everything they see. 

It's easy to find people who love to eat healthy and are dedicated to hitting the gym. Healthy living is the new "thing". Nowadays, it seems more convenient to turn to these people for answers than having to pay for a certified trainer or a gym membership. 

We see someone who has a "perfect" body and trust that he or she knows what is best for us. When in reality, you know better about what is best for you than anyone else ever will. 

Think about it. We all have different body types, different eating habits, and different genetics. Just because you're following the same routine as this person with this "perfect" body does not mean that you are going to get the same results. Does the person truly know how to adjust what he or she is teaching you according to what is best for your body type, your habits? Are they taking YOU into consideration?

Cooking and baking has always been a passion of mine. I started stirring things up in the kitchen the moment I picked up a spoon. Creating a healthy diet was through personal sensitivities towards many foods. I was never an athlete nor was I ever really a gym rat up until I entered college. Four years later, I have experimented with many different exercising routines and workouts. I learned a lot and I love sharing what I know with others. 

Now that I am sometimes seen as this "self taught person" on Instagram (and I wouldn't say self taught because I learned a lot from others) I always say... I can help you learn the basic do's and don'ts of working out, I can show you my exercise routines, I can teach you how to cook healthy alternatives (and even improvising with what's currently in your pantry), I can help you figure out some sort of schedule where you can make time to make these adjustments but I always make it clear that I am no professional, neither are many other people on the internet. I can only help you as far as my knowledge lets me and your efforts take you. I will not make myself to be someone who can transform you.

I don't know your body as well as you do. Nobody does.

Too often I see people desperate for results or change that they trust others with their health. 

My biggest advice is listen to your body. Your body lets you know when it's hurting. It lets you know when it doesn't welcome a certain food or movement. Your body cares for and loves you. It loves you so much it eventually starts adjusting itself for you and you can note these changes. Love your body in return! Listen to what it's telling you and act on it. 

Your body is already perfect as it is because it was made to suit YOU. Your body understands you, it knows what is good and what is bad for you. No other body would be able to cater to you like your own. Understanding this makes you recognize that you really shouldn't want someone else's body. 

Never would middle school or high school me imagine me say this but... I love my body! I've come to learn that it is like no other. It is constantly adjusting itself for me. My body will never be like that "perfect" woman's body on Instagram but mine is just as worthy of love, confidence and care. After years of self criticism and comparison, I have come to realize that all along I already had the perfect body because it is mine.

You see, you already have your ideal body because it is yours! You just have to discover it. 

In love with Hip-Hop

Since I have been getting more and more involved with the Hip Hop community, I feel it is only right for me to write where my love for it lies. 

Hip Hop is that genre that has many underlying sub-categories, satisfying everyone from the straight thug with a gat in his back strap to the full-time college student who has pb sandwiches on the menu everyday. 

I like to say that Hip Hop found me because when it did... I found a lot of myself. Just like I know many other Hip Hop heads did when they first heard that ONE Hip Hop song that changed everything.

Unfortunately, Hip Hop, like many individuals who love it, is misunderstood.

Yes, N.W.A showed their hatred towards the police in '88. Yes, Dr. Dre said "bitches ain't shit" in '92. Yes, Common also voiced his concern for where Hip Hop was headed in '94. Yes, Mobb Deep did not believe that halfway crooks existed in '95. Yes, Jay Z was pimpin' women in '99. Yes, we were painted a vivid picture of rape and suicide by Immortal Technique in '01. Yes, A$AP Mob has hella hoes today. 

But Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five delivered a powerful message in '82. Ll Cool J needed love in '87. Ice Cube had a good day in '92. Tupac showed his unconditional love to his momma in '95. Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony displayed their undying faith in God, staying constant on prayer in '96. Notorious B.I.G. and 112 said the sky is the limit in '97. Nas encouraged children that they can be whoever they want to be in '02. 

Just like you can find the bad areas of a beautiful city, the crumbs in the bottom of your delicious Lay's chips bag, the burgers that look nothing like those in an advertisement, and your favorite pair of white kicks that will eventually get dirty... Hip Hop has it's "flaws." 

But you can find beautiful people in the bad areas of a city, those chips had no choice but to crumble through the shipment and travel, those misrepresented burgers still taste good, and those white kicks can be cleaned. 

It's the swaying, smooth bumps of "The Jam (remix)" by Consequence that causes me to get lost in the night. It's the classic Hip Hop, funk blend from Sugar Hill Gangs "Rapper's Delight" that makes my hips wiggle and my shoulders roll.  It's A Tribe Called Quest's "Bonita Applebum" sweet beat that gets me weak at the knees. It's the jazzy rap in Digable Planet's "Rebirth of Slick" that gets me to start snapping my fingers . It's the harmonization in Lauren Hill's "Doo Wop" that soothes my soul. 

So why am I in love with Hip Hop? It's simple. Because Hip Hop is in love with me.

She saw me for me and nothing else. Caught me slippin' on the slopes of life and swooped me up in her whip on a warm summer evening. Showed me her intangible substance and leaked her way into my heart.

She appreciates creativity. She speaks when I am speechless. She loves poetry the same way I love poetry. She is empathetic where others may only be sympathetic. She saves the lives of those who feel victimized. She can be the light at the end of a very narrow tunnel. She evolves as the world around her evolves, ever-changing with the seasons but her roots remaining in tact.

There's so much to her. A woman rich in history, in trials and tribulations, in victories and successes. I would need a whole other website to delve into her many stories, her many wonders... 

And after all she's been through, Hip Hop discriminates nobody. She welcomes everyone with open arms to come and tune in while you're strolling in the park, cruisin' with your windows down in the neighborhood or simply lazing in your bed.

Hip Hop has a home for each individual. Whether it be for the graffiti artist, the emcee, the dancer or the deejay or, of course, the fan.  

Thank you Hip Hop for showing love and being there for the activists that changed the course of history, the legends, the street corner mobs, the down the alley cypher groups in the Bronx, the underground head bobbers, the got no other option dealers, the dreamers, the misunderstood and the now not so hopeless or lonely individual. 

Applaud Yourself

I was walking back to my apartment from the gym earlier today and as the California breeze started to blow gently on my face, it inspired me to think. Yes, I can be inspired by the breeze. 

Do you ever find yourself... being too hard on yourself? I do that a little too often. I got lost in my thoughts, causing my twenty minute walk to feel like five, saying to myself... you've accomplished a lot for a twenty year old! 

This amazing internship that I've been doing in Los Angeles, with Cheri Media, over the summer is coming to an end. And every time something is ending its course, I always start pondering on the would haves, should haves, and could haves.  But why focus on things I cannot change? 

People around me who have been asking about my return and have received the response "This is actually my last week" with a sad emoji next to it have all replied by saying something like "Its a blessing to do what you did though!" These responses caused me to change my perspective and I began to think of all the things I DID. 

I then went on a bit of a tangent and started thinking of all the things I have done so far in my life, all the things I have accomplished! Realizing that we don't give ourselves enough credit for all we have done or for simply doing the best we can. 

So what I decided to do, is to encourage you to write down all the things you have accomplished so far in your life! Not to get confused with the things you've overcome, there's a difference, and that can be another list! But write it all down! However you want to, just do it, and once you're done, take a step back and read it over! Recognize how awesome you are! Keep it, become your biggest inspiration and applaud yourself. 

You don't have to read my list, but if you'd like to I'm going to share it below. 

Here's a list of some of my accomplishments (since High School):

Senior year of High School I broke out of my shell and participated in Poetry Out Loud, reciting E.E. Cummings' "I Carry Your Heart," and got offered the filming to be shown in other poetic events.  

In 2011, although I didn't receive the (I.B.) diploma, I pushed through and completed the International Baccalaureate Program and got a full ride scholarship to the University of Arizona.

Since graduating from High School, I have lived on my own. 

Freshman year of college, I got my first job at Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization I was honored to work for.

Summer of 2012, I finally started to pursue one of my passions, boxing! 

Summer of 2013, I studied abroad in Paris, traveling alone, and finished my French minor. 

As soon as I returned and started my Junior year of college, I was highly involved in multiple organizations. I was accepted to volunteer with the Arizona Youth Partnership and continue to stay active in the Strengthening Families Program to this day.

I, also, started interning for a college sports website (that unfortunately is no longer active) and was the only reporter representing my school.   

Right after, I interned for Perimeter Bicycling and helped organize the biggest event in my city, El Tour de Tucson (where I also got the opportunity to work with ESPN Tucson).

Junior year of college, I decided to follow my heart and study something that I love learning about, majoring in Global Studies with a concentration in human rights, justice, and social movements. 

Welcoming the New Year of 2014, I blossomed the idea of having my own website and it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. 

This summer I got accepted to intern for Cheri Media's website HipHopDX and moved to Los Angeles, all on my own, for the time being. 

I then got accepted to intern for another one of their websites at the same time, BattleRap.com. 

While being in Los Angeles, I reached out to two of my biggest inspirations and was able to meet, interview, and feature them on my site! 

I, also, realized that anything is possible.

A Piece of My Life, A Piece of Advice.

So I find myself here. 

My two week anniversary of my summer in the city of Los Angeles. That's right, the city of dreams. You know. It's so true. Seems like everybody here is here to be somebody else. I've met what seems like ordinary people, until they introduce themselves as actors and producers. I never hear any of this back home (Arizona). Although, if everybody is an actor... how do you stand out? I mean really. 

I, on the other end of the stick, am none of the above. BUT I am an intern. Could you say that I am also an individual in this big city trying to be somebody else? Well, maybe.

If you have read my previous personal blog "#FeelGood14" you would know that one of my feel good goals for this year is to obtain a good internship. Well MOMMA I MADE IT! lol. Just kidding. Not quite just yet. But I did do just that. Which I am extremely happy about. Not only did I knock off one thing on my list but I also can check off two others: meet people and be more in tune with music.

So what's my story?

A little over two months ago, I applied for a pretty big internship. When I found out they were interested in doing a Skype interview with me, I was ecstatic. I felt like I did great and I left a good impression, up until I didn't hear from them. My mind was set that I didn't get it so on my first day of summer vacation I went full throttle in planning out a productive summer. I started to feel a certain emptiness, a void. See. I'm one of those people that love being on the go, I don't feel the need for a summer vacation. I yearn for constant progression and work experience. As soon as I started feeling like I'd just end up taking some summer courses and open my availability at my part-time job... I received an e-mail. 

I got offered to be an intern for their summer program. 

I had less two weeks to figure out whether or not I would actually be able to make it out here in LA. Where I was going to stay, who was going to sublease my apartment, if my car would make the drive and let alone if I had enough money. 

This is where "A Piece of My Life, A Piece of Advice" comes in. 

How in the world could I turn down a once in a lifetime opportunity? I was given a purpose to be in one of the largest cities in the world. So I decided to just accept the offer and figure the rest out with time. 

I am currently debating on whether or not to transfer over to the same restaurant I work for back home, asking myself if I have enough money. Come July, I will be sleeping on an air mattress for the remainder of my time here. I am living off of leftovers and peanut butter sandwiches. So it's safe to say I'm in a bit of a struggle. Should I be scared... maybe. But I'm not, you know why? Because I finally discovered what it is that I love doing! Incorporating my passions for writing and music. I wouldn't have found that if I played it safe and rejected the offer.

So what's my advice? Take risks and never pass out on opportunity. 

I did the same thing when I studied abroad in Paris last summer. I definitely did not have enough money, but I still made it happen. By the end of my trip, all I was eating was crepes. Who can complain though? Every morning on my way to work and every evening on my way back home, I drive down what has to be, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful drives, Sunset Blvd. 

So I find myself here.

I may run out of money. I may not have a bed. I may not have much food. But I have something grand in the palm of my hands, a blossoming dream. All thanks to fearlessness and taking risks, I can say I have lived in two of the biggest cities in the world (and I'm not talking about size). 

10 Things I Have Learned in College... so far.

  • The experience is what you make of it.

The "full college experience" is truly all on you. You can either have a memorable and great college career OR you can have an otherwise not so memorable one. I know a few people who are enrolled in college but manage to spend most of their time in their rooms or most of their time sleeping. I know more people who simply go to class and nothing else... maybe work too but that's it. Where is the experience in that!? There is so much more to college than just college courses. 

  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with exploring your options. 

Some people know what they're meant to be in life. Others, like myself, are interested in too many things and have no idea what to major in. You would be surprised how many people also do not know what they want to do. Some people in their thirties STILL don't know what they want to do. Don't stress! It'll come to you eventually. You'll stumble upon a course that sways you or upon a person that intrigues you about their major. I must have explored at least six different majors. Yes. More than six. Now here I stand with a major in Global Studies and minors in French, Hip-hop, and Journalism and I am completely content. In fact, I look forward to going to class everyday. And this would not have happened if I hadn't explored so much. 

  • You might not necessarily meet your soul mate. 

"They say you meet the love of your life your Sophomore year of college." We have all heard this (or something like this) before! Do not focus on finding this so called soul mate of yours that is roaming around somewhere on campus. Do your own thing! You will stumble upon many different kinds of relationships... sorts of relationships that you've never even heard of! lol Trust me. I don't believe I have met my soul mate yet and I am a Junior. But hey... who am I to say you absolutely don't meet your significant other in college, I still have one more year right? 

  • Your circle of friends will most likely change.

People change. Friends absolutely change. And there is nothing wrong with that! Do yourself a favor and accept it. How can you not change when you are immersed in this totally new environment? Meet new people, learn new things... it's prone to happen! Because of this change, certain friends come and other friends go! My circle of friends at this moment in particular is completely different than the one I had my Freshman year. Just make sure you keep a selective few that have genuinely known you and have been a big part of your life prior to entering college. Stick with your roots! But grow new branches. 

  • You learn A LOT about yourself.

People change. YOU change. Period. Be prepared to discover many things about yourself as you undergo many new experiences. 

  • Do what YOU love. 

I cannot stress how much of a stress it was for me debating on whether to study something that I loved and enjoyed or to study something "that guarantees a career with good money". This is one of the main reasons why I jumped around so many majors. I focused on the money making majors and tried to find which one of those I'd be genuinely eager to study. INSTEAD, focus on pursuing what you love and then figuring out how you can make that good money off of your passion!

  • There are so many opportunities available to you. 

This is something I unfortunately didn't realize until the beginning of my Junior year. Attending school is one thing but what is more important is experience! You can graduate college with a paper stating you got a BA in whatever BUT can you back that paper up with experience? It is amazing how much opportunity is made available to you in college, you'd be surprised how willing some people are to help you advance and achieve. Just be eager to learn and to help! Go surf the net, network, and stand out!

  • Be social. 

Venture out! Explore the college scene! And most importantly... meet new people! I know so many graduates who have told me that they regret just focusing on their classes that they never made time to attend games, events on/off campus, and going out on the weekends every so often. Don't be afraid to make those memories! Plus it's a great opportunity to network, people are always open to benefit from each other.

  • You choose to be educated. 

You can literally attend college, all four years, and leave without having learned a thing. Without having retained any knowledge. But that outcome is entirely up to YOU! Do not just attend class because you have to and "get by" with your grades. This isn't high school! This is college! Here is your chance to pursue your interests and become highly educated in that field. Education is your best investment.

  • School... really isn't for everybody. Embrace it if it is for you. 

Yes. If you are willing to put in the work, anybody is able to get a higher education. But not everybody is willing. If YOU have this willpower, put your all into it. Your mind is hungry, feed it!

What having Kidney Stones did to me.

Those of you who read my #FeelGood14 blog post know that one of my Feel Good goals for 2014 is to transform my personal Instagram page into an inspirational fitness transformation of myself by "nurturing my body". This goal was inspired by my diagnose of having kidney stones in late November. Yes, I am only 20 years old and I can already say that I have had kidney stones. Words cannot explain how excruciating the pain was when the stone was making its way from my kidney to my bladder. I literally feel like I can endure any other pain I come by and I am near to invincible now. 

This kidney stone could not have had worst timing. I was studying for finals, taking finals, finishing up my Fall semester in college, getting ready to enjoy Winter Break, trying to get over an ex, just got a new job, going to start training for a fight (I box) and was awaiting the arrival of my family from Mexico who I had not seen in 2 years. Lord have mercy. Lets just say, it did not go at all how I had planned. 

Both my parents had kidney stones (God bless my father who had them more than once) but I had never known how severely painful they are when you have them. My mom even said its worse than childbirth, looks like I am ready to pop a baby (NOT). Anyways, I went from feeling like I was in my best shape and health ever to the worst shape I have ever been in a matter of three weeks.

Around 3 in the morning Thanksgiving day, I awake to such an unfamiliar feeling in my abdominal area and the feeling started to progress as the minutes passed. I found myself unable to lay in bed and burst into tears as I start pacing my bedroom. I then decided I must call my mother to take me to the hospital and after that night... everything went downhill.  

I had a consistent dull yet sharp pain that went from my lower back to my abdomen that made me almost immobile in my whole left side of my body and forced me to become the hunchback of Notre Dame. The unbearable pain would come and go but soon enough I became almost slaved to it solely because suffering 3 hours in the ER waiting room no longer seemed like an option so I would just bear it at home, alone. It would last about 2-4 hours each time. I then just relied on prayer. 

First off let me begin by saying that I only went to work for a day and that was it. And I submitted final essays like a good dedicated student that wont let a thing get in the way of their education  (still were probably some of the worst essays I have ever written). I lost my appetite, could no longer hold any food or beverage down, vomiting some days over 8 times a day, couldn't sleep (laying down comfortably was impossible), had a very pale complexion, became weak, did not exercise AT ALL... not even a walk from my room to the kitchen, talking became too much of an effort, cried hopelessly and life was grey. Because they had me on around 7 pills a day: I would last a whole week without going to the bathroom (if ya know what I mean), broke out like crazy, became even weaker, got blurred vision, lost my sense of taste, was always extremely tired and I just shutdown. One day (the most painful one), I looked in the mirror and literally came to terms in my own head that I might die. I lost myself. 

Over eight trips to the hospital, two months, two surgery's, and one stint later... I stand here. Writing to you that although this was by far the most painful, extensive, weakening experiences of my life... it was also one of the most awakening, inspiring, life changing experiences. It guided me to faith, strengthened my love, and made me grateful for my health in all aspects.

I lost 10 pounds of hard earned muscle, am starting from square one in the gym, and have slowly regained my appetite. But I am beyond motivated (even more now that I am making it public) to come back even stronger! I am excited to share this journey through my personal Instagram page, as I will also post healthy recipes I both create and discover as well as people I meet along the way!

 

Also* please feel free to ask me any questions about kidney stones, my experience, or my goal... as there is much more to the story!

#FeelGood14

I can’t decide whether I want to write this in numbers or bullets… let’s try bullets since people have the tendency to think that there’s a level of importance when numbers are involved.

  • Just Feel Good. Focus on inner peace and self-love. The past is the past and there is nothing you can do to change it, so why dwell on it? Your morals and your way of being is uniquely what makes you YOU, so feel good about them. Didn’t like how today went or how you dealt with a certain situation? Feel good, there is another day tomorrow. Don’t want to wait for tomorrow, simple, deal with it now and feel better. Be selfish in the sense that you recognize what you are worth without feeling guilty about it. If feeling good means letting go… do it.
  •  Money. Oh how I love and hate you. And this year, I am owning you. No… I do not mean I am getting money, what I mean is I am not letting the money own me. You see, I need to be more like my mother. Pay what you have to pay, fix what you have to fix, and don’t forget to save a little money on the side. Period.
  • Obtain a good internship. After three years of being in college, I have learned that experience is extremely important. In fact, having experience can be worth a lot more than just being able to say you have a degree. But do not just get any internship, get an internship that you will learn from in an area of work that interests you. I have had a few internships but to be honest each of them weren’t exactly what I was hoping for. Don’t get me wrong, each were very valuable but this time around I will focus on landing an internship that I will get out as much as I put in.
  • Rekindle. Rekindle yourself to something you have lost touch with and miss. I myself need to rekindle my relationship with French. Ever since I got back from living in Paris in the summer of ’13, I have not spoken or written French besides with the friends I made over there through Facebook. I miss being revolved and infatuated by this beautiful, elegant language. So I am going to find someone I can hold French conversations with. I refuse to let it slip away and so should you (with whatever it is that you miss).
  • Meet people. Not just people though, inspiring and ambitious individuals. These are the kind of people that add excitement and motivation into your life! Put yourself out there and discover the side where the grass is always greener. That’s what I plan on doing through JRecognize… and I hope you all enjoy my journey.
  • Love yourself enough to nurture your body. Whether it’s through fitness, dance, clean eating, or walking your dog… do what makes your body feel good. I have never realized how much I appreciate a happily nurtured body as much I do now after having a kidney stone. Going from the best to the worst shape of my life in the time span of three weeks has motivated me to turn my personal Instagram page into an inspiring fitness transformation.
  • Be more in tune with music. I can’t remember what year it was exactly but I do recognize the fact that there was a sudden change with my relationship with music. I use to just hear music, dance to the beat at parties. But I went through a dark period in my life, back in middle school, and I discovered music as more than just a tune. Ever since then music has moved me in ways I can’t even explain. And I realize that not everybody has this ear for it. Whether I start recording songs or learn piano or join a hip-hop crew… I am going to be a part of music.

Be realistic with your list (or however you’re Feel Good Fourteen looks like). But what is most important is that you recognize what it is that makes you feel Good. 

Shower thought (1)

There I was, in the shower. Just thinking to myself as I do always when this (seemingly) heavenly water pulsates over my body. For some reason I always come up with the most brilliant ideas in the shower. As if the steam were some magical potion that somehow makes me an intelligent, Albert Einstein-like human being. Anyways, so there I was the other morning and I said to myself I just want to feel good. You know it’s that time of year where you feel so accustomed to be thinking of New Years resolutions and how you’re going to make THIS year THE year… for whatever it is you want THE to be. Even if you’re not even that kind of person to be writing down what it is that you are going to change or going to aim for everyone around you has been doing it every January that resolutions still creep into your mind. As it creeped into mine, (note that I naturally converse and have arguments in my own head with myself or my ‘subconscious’ as some say), I realized just that, feeling good. Feeling good with whatever it is that I do, that I say, that I think! And DING, there sparked that light bulb on top of my head… Feel Good Fourteen. How catchy is that though? Anyways… I really digged into this thought, this philosophical simplistic phrase that can really, in my optimistic belief, make my year a Good year. (Note how I made the word Good important by capitalizing the G). And that’s how it should be… all this worry, this doubt, this unbeneficial stress and over analyzation that gets us nowhere but in the trapped mind of assumptions and situations that will most likely never happen. Feeling genuinely good about yourself and your actions at the end of each day… imagine. For a moment, a brief one, I said to myself that that was going to be my ‘resolution’. But with this JRecognize vision of mine, I quickly said to myself that Feel Good Fourteen can be much more than just that, it can be a movement… it can be shared with you, and your roommate, and the next person I meet, and the man that always sits in the same seat at the library. You get the point, I hope. Feel Good Fourteen will override the title New Years Resolutions… besides that title is so last year (I write with slight laughter). Thank you steamy showers… I am off to write my next blog on what my Feel Good Fourteen will be. What is yours? #FeelGood14