Look Book


I am an average dresser at best.

With a mix of old school event t-shirts, the same two or three pants and some semi-fancy tops, I’m more often than not wearing the same thing I wore last week. If I had the monetary means, I’m sure I’d dress in cooler clothes. But then again, I’d be too lazy to go shopping or pick them out, so maybe not.

(Materialism is a lot of work, I might as well stick to t-shirt and jeans…)

I asked my sister what I should write about in my blog today and she suggested I do one about my personal style. A recent social media trend has cropped up: #2012vs2018 and I began thinking about my own evolution and whether I’ve changed much at all. I thought about it for a little bit and I decided I should go fishing through my parents’ Facebook photos so as to provide you with a “look book” of sorts.

Below, you will find the style evolution of your dear Pebbles. We shall begin our journey somewhere in middle school, where I truly decided it was time to dress myself:


Middle school was peak awkwardness for me– Peak insecurity, too. 

I tried super hard to keep up with what other girls were wearing and ultimately failed. My parents never took us to Abercrombie and Fitch or gave a moment’s thought to Uggs. I felt resentment towards not being able to dress just like everyone else and that frustrated me. Because of this, I decided I would try to emulate some other things I thought were cool. Mainly, skater boys.

If I didn’t stand out as a “girly girl,” why couldn’t I stand out as a girl wearing some sick skater shoes?

Turns out, Vans are expensive. But, Nike came through with the dupes. They looked close enough to the “coo”l stuff that it was a-okay. As for the rest of me, I wore baggy t-shirts and cut off jeans in the summer time to finish off the look. (I believed fully that I was ballooning with fat and I wanted to hide it under something.) In the colder months, I had my trusty green cargo pants. (I thought I could emulate Kim Possible, but I looked like a thrift store reject pile instead.)

This Low-Effort tomboy vibe continued on to the earlier years of high school. Though, I decided to start dabbling in more traditionally “feminine” cuts of clothing and some makeup.


In high school, I spent the first two years looking over my shoulder and still trying to incorporate the more popular items into my outfits. But, again, I couldn’t afford 80% of those things and that made me feel sometimes helpless.

At the end of my sophomore year of high school, however, I lost a few friends who had moved on to other people who were more socially advanced than myself. Instead of wallowing, though, I decided I wouldn’t mind it and decided to do well for myself, by myself.

Junior and Senior year became my era of independence and just like shoulder pads in power suits in the ’80s, my dress sense sort of began morphing to reflect my new ready-for-power attitude. My love for Men’s Wear, a love that continues, began and I started taking inspiration from the looks of the semi-casual male professionals who whizzed by me on the streets of Manhattan. A balance of masculine elements with just enough femininity to distinguish me from the cringe worthy middle school experience.

I felt comfy and put together.

I wore these jeans from Old Navy with large patches on them so often that I wore them out sooner than I would have liked. I also almost exclusively wore my faux leather dress shoes, save for gym days.

My senior year also marked the first time I had ever put on a suit and it was the dopest feeling.


Now a-days, I continue to enjoy any occasion I can wear heels to. But in the day to day, I’ve learned to refine my love for jeans and a t-shirt. I do put in thought to what I wear, but I’m continuing to learn to dress for myself and not what others think of me. I don’t think I’ve ever actually CHANGED, but rather simply evolved and added new elements to a basic look I’ve been wearing all these years. It was never actually the clothes, but my relationship with those clothes because of my developing confidence…

While searching through old photos, I realized something. I was lucky to have developed a sense of self assurance earlier on. Despite never quite owning the newest and coolest thing, I’ve learned to embrace who I am and what I love. There are still those out there that never quite feel at ease in their own skin, never quite like how they look or feel…

“Confidence is hard,” a friend once told me, and it is. I wish I could go and tell others that they should love themselves always. I wish I could shoot super rays of self-love towards all the people around me, but I can’t. Loving yourself is a personal journey. You can’t force someone to love you back and the same goes for loving yourself.


All art by Pebbles!

A Birthday Slice of Cheesecake

a birthday balloon in the sky

Image by: Becca

Family…it is the one thing in this world that we are born into or given in this world. But along the way we are allowed to choose our families by the people that we naturally connect with as well as the people who readily understand us. We are essentially given two families in the world, the ones that we are naturally a part of and the one that we create for ourselves…the one that we choose. Regardless of this, it is always important to be family-oriented…in terms of spending time with the people that you love and those that love you. It is something truly special about creating memories with loved ones because these are times that will be cherished forever. There are events and specific times in life that we want to share with other people such as anniversaries, sporting events, birthdays, et cetera. This past weekend was my older sister’s birthday and my family spent most of the time planning out the festivities that we would indulge in to celebrate this special birthday.

We were so torn on what activities to partake in for the entire family to enjoy as well as the birthday girl. My family rarely has time where we can all get together as a whole to spend time together but for big events such as graduations or birthdays, we somehow manage to find a way to compromise busy schedules in order to be available for the events. Still, we had a fun-filled weekend of going to the movies, visiting a local bakery for dessert, opening birthday presents, playing glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, and going to dinner as a family.

My older sister, Amanda, absolutely loves cheesecake so it is almost a tradition to treat her to a visit to Cheesecake Factory in order to celebrate her birthday accordingly. But that is not always the case as we almost always seem to have some time of car trouble around the time of her birthday that prevents us from being able to travel to Long Island to her favorite restaurant. This year, thankfully, our family car was operating greatly which gave us the opportunity to throw her the best birthday possible.

an individual cheesecake on a decorated plate with fruit

Image by: Reggie Lam

There are many versions of cheesecake, both sweet and savory. But there are many variations of cheesecakes, the French cheesecake that usually uses  Neufchâtel cheese which is creamier and tarty as well as the Italian cheesecake that uses ricotta cheese or mascarpone cheese which results in a drier texture of cheesecake. But my all-time favorite, as well as my older sister, is the New York-style cheesecake which uses sour cream in the batter which has a tangy but rich texture and flavor which is absolutely delicious. Cheesecake has become such a centrical part of celebrating her birthday and I hope that it was just as special this year.

Herbs Galore!

Good Afternoon, CIty Tech! Gen here, and today will be the last of our tea adventures, so today we’ll end it with my favorite tea of all: Herbal tea! I have so many favorites such as peppermint tea, chamomile tea, Eucalyptus, so on and so forth.Growing up, I always had a passion for herbs and what they could provide us. I was always a flower child, loving nature and appreciating her for what she is, even when she’s at her worst. Whenever I was sick I always found comfort in herbal teas, no matter what they had always made me feel better, my first herbal tea was introduced to me around age 3.

My memory extends till age 2 which is why I can tell this story, I was sick this one time on a winter’s day like today, being hispanic, I was growing up in an environment where tea and of course, menthol/vaperu was the instant remedy. Upon my first experience with tea being chamomille, I remember it being hot, so my mother blew on the tea and fed me it by spoon instead of sips, she wanted to make sure I didn’t burn my tiny baby mouth. It was lightly sweetened with honey, and at that point of the tea reaching my taste buds was when I knew, that tea was my instant passion, something I wanted to keep in my life. Since that very day, as I grew older I’d use my free time to search on about teas and their benefits, what I can drink when I’m feeling this or that and with this knowledge I also help my friends and family whom also wish to use nature’s benefits instead of medicinal usage, but keep in mind that though teas are very good for you, it can never replace the supplements needed if your in poor health, if you have something serious always consult to your doctor. Due to my passion and love for herbal tea, instead of just listing a few facts about herbal teas I’m going to list many with the credit of The Hearty Soul for providing a list of teas and their benefits, I hope you all enjoyed my Tea series, and I hope this encouraged you all to drink tea on a daily, and if not, then to at least try it. If you’re worried about expenses, rest assured: These can be found in day-to-day food stores, and they’re cheap, believe me.

Krapp or Treasure?… Maybe it’s both

Have you ever gotten lost in the Theatre District (near Times Square)? *sadly raises hand* I’ve been there a plethora of times but each time I ascend from the Subway stairs, I’m always left spinning in circles wondering “if I’m on 43rd, which way is 42nd?” *walks to 44th* *then shamefully walks the same block towards the other way*. There’s nothing like Times Square that makes me want to revoke my own New Yorker card. Over the years, I think I have mastered navigating through the busy streets… somewhat. But that moment of knowing where you are, where you are going, and how to get there is ultimately undeniable.

mary tyler moore doing the signature spin and hat toss from the theme to the mary tyler moore show

I got you, Mary…

Have you ever went down the wrong street around the Theatre District and ended up somewhere on a back street of a bunch of Off-Broadway theatres? They have an abandoned or desolate tinge to them. Like they’ve been around for long enough to have seen the district back when you had to choke your purse in order to keep the items inside safe. Or back in a time that the streets used to be lined with peep shows and sketchy characters. Or when Ford cars danced up and down the cobble stoned streets, carting the wealthy to extravagant shows and parties. Turns out some of these theatres were around for all of those traditional New York experiences that happened around the Theatre District. So before it was climatically warmer than the rest of Manhattan due to all the lights and energy used in that area. And before One Times Square hosted the New Year’s Ball Drop and pumped a zillion kilowatts (this number is 1,000% correct!) of light on its facade.

the majestic theatre within the busy street of movement

As reported on the Shubert Organization webpage, it all started with the Shubert brothers in the late 1800’s. Syracuse natives Sam, Lee, and Jacob Shubert founded “The Shubert Organization” in 1900. They began their small business with a few theatres in upstate New York before venturing to New York City and opening some of the most infamous Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres that we know today. In 1905, Sam died in a fatal railroad incident which left Lee and Jacob to tend the business. They grew exponentially, pollinating the country. The Shuberts opened theatres in Boston, Dayton, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago. By the mid-1920’s, the Shuberts had over 1,000 theatres nationwide. Some of their theatres are still here today, but most were demolished. One that still graces the concurrent Broadway playbills is the Majestic Theatre.

a historical photo of the majestic theatre

Image Credit: Shubert Organization

a covered barrier promoting the shubert organization

According to IBDB(Internet Broadway Database), The Majestic Theatre was designed in the mid-1920’s by architect, Herbert J. Krapp. New York native, Krapp, was a well-known theatre designer at the time. He even designed the theatre that adorned our television screens at 11:30 pm for decades; the Ed Sullivan Theatre which hosted the Late Show with David Letterman from 1993-2015. From 1912-1916, Krapp began to design theatres for the Shubert Brothers directly; many are still in use. Regardless of the imminent economy failure, he continued working with the Shubert brothers until 1963. The Chanin Brothers, who were architects themselves, built the theatre Krapp designed, thinking that they could edge their way into the entertainment business. It opened in 1927 and the Chanin Brothers held ownership of the theatre for three years before trading it to the Shuberts due to the turn of the economy (Stock Market Crash).

historical drawing of the majestic theatre

Image Credit: Shubert Organization

the majestic maquee

As stated by Playbill, Krapp was so esteemed in his immense expertise since he knew how to get the true value of the space. He was known for his stadium seating arrangements, optimizing the overall floor space for both customers and stage management. The interior was designed in the Louis XV style with a classic a color palette of white and gold. The theatre had a grand capacity of 1,645. The base of the building’s facade is adorned with large panels of terra cotta. The floors above seem to be clad in a classic Spanish brick pattern. Two balconies break the continuous brick street wall, making the suggestion of two more floors above the first.

ornamentation on the facadethe terra cotta panels on the base of the majestic theatrethe front facade of the majestic theatre

The theatre is almost one hundred years old and people still actively enjoy it. The next time you are in the Theatre District, look around at the theatres since most of them have been around from the beginning of the 20th century. They saw the liveliness of the roaring 20’s, the struggles of the depression, the regrowth of the economy after WWII, platform shoes of the discotheque scene, big hair of the 80’s, and even welcomed the 21st century.

the majestic theatre awning in comparison to a historical image

a historical photo of the marquee of majestic theatre

Image Credit: Telecharge

The Price of Gentrification: Who Pays?

As I sit on the three train riding to Brooklyn, I always reminisce on the days when my neighborhood was a familiar place to me. I know you may be thinking “How does a neighborhood that you have lived in for 24 years become unfamiliar to you?” My answer would be that my neighborhood started to change when moving to Brooklyn became the “new, hip and popular” thing to do. Over the past five years, as a result of gentrification, the people who live in my neighborhood have started to disappear into a sea of new and unfamiliar white faces. As the invasive nature of gentrification began to impact people and businesses in my neighborhood, the world that I knew as a child began to change. If you aren’t familiar with the term Gentrification, you should know that the word “gentry” is a homage to white civility and respectability. Gentry can be defined as “people of good social position, specifically (in the UK) the class of people next below the nobility in position and birth.” Stacey Sutton defines the term gentrification in her 2014 Tedx New York Talk “What we don’t understand about gentrification” “ as a process in which higher income or higher status people relocate to or invest in low income urban neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have historically been disinvested by both the public and private sector and as higher income people move to these areas, it’s typically to capitalize on the low property value. In doing so they inflate property values, displace low income people and fundamentally alter the culture and the character of the neighborhood.” I choose this definition because it addresses the real impact of gentrification, and how it can alter the culture of a community rather than the economic standpoints that people mostly focus on.

The real issue with Gentrification is that if it continues at its current pace it shows a strong resemblance to negative housing practices in the past. For example in the early 1900s practices such as Redlining, were adopted in order to place limitations on the housing that people of African descent could attain, and to specifically keep all-white neighborhoods segregated. According to Blackpast.org, redlining, which was “institutionalized by the 1937 U.S. Housing Act ” can be defined as “a discriminatory pattern of disinvestment and obstructive lending practices that act as an impediment to home ownership among African Americans and other people of color. Banks used the concept to deny loans to homeowners and would-be homeowners who lived in these neighborhoods. This in turn resulted in neighborhood economic decline and the withholding of services or their provision, at an exceptionally high cost.” What this means is that people of African descent weren’t permitted, or were prevented, from taking out loans from banks so that they could move into decent neighborhoods, regardless of their income. The practice of Redlining was ultimately used to keep races separate at the expense of people of African descent who could afford to live in prominent neighborhoods. Now, the current process of gentrification is increasing property taxes as well as the prices of rent, and as a result of this, once again people of African descent who cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for rent every month are being displaced.

My neighborhood has always been filled with people of African descent. However, as the people changed, so did the culture of the neighborhood. Local restaurants and businesses where I used to eat and support regularly began to shut down. My neighborhood was no longer full of kids playing outside until the street lights came on. Block parties stopped happening, the food in the bodegas started to change, but most of all, the brightly colored neighborhood I once live in became pale, and gloomy to me. No one was sitting out on the front steps during the summer, the ice cream trucks seemed to stop coming around, and as gentrification increased, all of the original residents began paying for the change they were unable to prevent.

The familiar friendly faces that I once waved to in the morning as I went to school began to drift away as the new faces forcefully, but smoothly took their place. Building by building, apartment by apartment, person by person, the block that was once filled with owners of African descent whose kids I played with as a child, became foreign to me. As new residents moved in, the older residents who couldn’t sustain living in an area where the rent began steadily increasing had to move. My home of Crown Heights, Brooklyn went from being a safe haven where I could be around people who I had grew up with, to a neighborhood where people only converse with each other solely to request parking spots.  Over the years I have watched the neighborhood around me change from having bodegas and Caribbean restaurants with my favorite foods to organic supermarkets, Parisian-themed food trucks, and then a Starbucks appeared. My neighborhood has become so gentrified that on the corner of Franklin Avenue and Eastern Parkway, directly next to the train station, there is now a Citi bike stand. This bike stand has become an inconvenience for tenants who have been living in this neighborhood for years because the bike stand takes up almost half a block of parking spaces. Now for people who do not own vehicles, this isn’t a major issue, but for those whom street parking is necessary, this along with the other changes in the neighborhood have become major inconveniences.

Asides from the practice of Redlining that was implemented to prevent much needed improvements in the housing available to African descent, there was also quite a resistance to integrating neighborhoods that were already well established.  This resistance to integrate certain neighborhoods in the early 1900s came from white home owners who stood firmly together in their decision to keep their neighborhoods all-white. I know you may be reading this and saying “What? I don’t believe you, this can’t be true.” On the contrary, According to Mary Sacks’ book Before Harlem: The Black Experience in New York Before World War I, in 1889 “white New Yorkers became more strident in their refusal to live in proximity with black people. They pressured landlords to rent exclusively to white tenants, leaving only the dregs of the housing market available to the black population.” The white residents of Harlem were so enraged about the integration of their neighborhoods, Mary Sacks writes, that in 1913 “angry white residents demonstrated less restraint in their opposition to the black “invasion” of Harlem as they desperately sought to defend their neighborhood from the black “enemy.” She went on to say that “they argued that 130th Street ought to be the dividing line between colored and white people.” This resistance continued to increase, and at times, became violent. People of African descent who were actually able to obtain housing in upscale neighborhoods faced constant harassment from their white neighbors. The book also says, “Police officers’ refusal to protect black people from violence left blacks constantly vulnerable to assault, especially from the ethnic white enclaves living in the vicinity.” People of African descent faced many obstacles when trying to integrate fully white neighborhoods, and they were often brutally assaulted or harassed so much that they retreated back to the steadily declining neighborhoods that they originally worked hard to flee from.

A man, woman and child standing in front of a broken window

Retrieved from Ket.org

Now can you imagine the difficulties people of African descent faced to find quality, and affordable neighborhoods to live in? Neighborhoods where they could live in without being forced out based on the color of their skin. These neighborhoods where people of African descent found solace in were areas where they built their lives so that they could feel comfortable around other people who for the most part accepted them, and could identify with them. Now that gentrification has begun, the same race of people who fought so hard to keep people of African descent out of their neighborhoods in the past are now moving to the “hood”. Not only are they moving to the “hood”, they are taking over the community and making it their own. It’s amazing to me how in only a few decades, people who wouldn’t dare to live in my neighborhood have started moving in and walk the streets as though their presence in a non-factor. I’ve noticed the tension between the tenants who originally lived in this community  and the new white tenants, and as you can imagine one day the question was asked.

An older woman in my neighborhood asked a new white tenant in her building “What are you doing here, living with us?” Her response was “We need cheaper rent, and this neighborhood is affordable.” The conversation ended there, but then I don’t think the question was understood. Personally, I don’t think the older woman was literally asking “did you move here because rent is affordable?”; I interpreted her question to be that she was asking “Why after all this time have you decided to move into our neighborhood after we were never allowed into yours?” I’m only speculating here because of course I don’t know exactly what the older lady meant, but I understood the implications of the question that was posed.

Of course there is a lot of resistance from tenants who lived in this neighborhood before gentrification, because the neighborhood that they knew for years is steadily changing. Yes, on one hand, the produce and food choices are improving and the chain businesses in the area are remodeling their stores to accommodate the new tenants. However, according to the article Gentrification in a Brooklyn Neighborhood Forces Residents to Move On by Vivian Yee, the prices of apartments and the property taxes are increasing, and people who live on a fixed income are getting evicted and displaced from the neighborhood they lived in for decades. Can you imagine how devastating it could be to finally find an area to live in where you don’t face discrimination, racial profiling and constant mistreatment by your neighbors for significant amount of time in your lives, to then be pushed out of your apartment for new tenants?   

It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening to the people living in my neighborhood, and I only hope that some improvements can be made where longtime residents can keep their homes. However, the process has already begun; bike lanes have been implemented onto the side streets and we now have muni meters for hourly parking. These new tenants moving in are populating this area because it’s affordable for them, without considering who’s paying the real cost for them to live here. As the process of mass gentrification seems to be inevitable I do hope that as new people move in, they start to appreciate the culture of the neighborhood their moving into and are respectful of the people who have called the neighborhood home for many years before their arrival. The original tenants are the patriarchs of the community, and it is unethical for newcomers to enter into a community and change it so that conforms to their specific taste.

Now that I have describe my personal experience with Gentrification in my neighborhood, tell me your story. What are your thoughts on gentrification? How are you or your family or your friends directly affected? Leave me a comment and let me know how you a currently feeling about this topic.

Hello Spring!

quote pic

Photo Retrieved from PictureQuotes

No winter lasts forever and today is officially the first day of spring!
Today marks a new season and a new beginning. You can already begin to see signs of spring everywhere–daylight sticks around longer (yay!), it smells different, the whole atmosphere evolves. Change is definitely in the air. When I think of spring I think of flowers, rain, spring cleaning…and I also think about setting new intentions and change for myself.
While the flowers are growing, what do you want to “grow” in your life?.

That leads me to talk to you all today about vision boarding.

girl holding collage of pictures up

Photo Retrieved from NJMom

You may or may not be familiar with the concept of a Vision Board. I wasn’t actually introduced to making one until 2016. I made my first one then, and I realized how powerful it really is to create one. A vision board is a visualization tool that you can use as inspiration and motivation for your journey toward things you want to acquire or accomplish short-term, or long-term. Some people call it a “dream board” or an “inspiration board.” No matter what you call it, it’s basically a collage of pictures, words, and quotes that serve to remind you of your passion, purpose, and things you’re working towards. I think spring is the perfect time for creating a vision board because as the earth is starting a new chapter, so are you. People spring clean, and shop for new spring and summer wardrobes, now it’s time to add spring dream-chasing to the list!

Vision boards are made to depict goals and dreams in all areas of your life, or in any one specific area that you are focusing on. Maybe you want a promotion at work, or to vacation more, to be happier, to increase or improve your quality of health, to start-up a business, to finish school, or to have a better relationship; it can be any and all of the things you desire.

The first step to creating one is to think of goals you want to set within a certain period of time. I would say don’t think further than like a years time. You want to make the goals reachable and winnable sooner than later. You could even turn your vision board creation process into a fun night. You and some friends could meet up and create your boards together!

group of women holding up picture collage boards

Me and My Friends at a Vision Board Event

Secondly, after you’ve thought of your goals and desires, then you want to find pictures that represent or symbolize the experiences, feelings, and possessions you want to attract into your life, and place them on your board. You can use photographs, cut things from magazines, or find your pictures on the Internet–whatever inspires you.

Also, it doesn’t have to be only pictures, but it can be anything that speaks to you and your vision. For example, one of my friends was adding to her board the desire to get a new apartment. So what she did was, she taped an old key onto her board to symbolize the new apartment key she was hoping to have soon. Inspiring AF!

You can even include a picture of yourself or friends and family members on your board. You want to choose those that were taken in a happy moment, like you smiling, for example.

dog smiling showing teeth

Photo Retrieved from 2DamnFunny

They are part of your support network so having their image on your board serves as affirmation from them that you can do whatever you’re aspiring to. 🙂

You can also add affirmations, inspirational words and quotations too. Those memes and quote pics you see on social media and the internet that you always end up screenshotting–add those! Whatever inspires you and makes you feel good. Vision boarding is all about you digging deep and really making and recognizing decisions and things you want for your life. As you can tell from my blogging style, I’m ridiculously visually charged so this whole process of creating a board is like the most exciting thing ever to me! Lol

boy dancing excitedly in sports game stands

GIF Retrieved from GIPHY

For full instructions on how to create a vision board, you can always Google or Youtube search instructions, but here is one I particularly like. Just click and scroll down to the directions. Some instructions tell you to purchase a lot of fancy or expensive items but this can simply be done with paper, scissors, and glue, to be honest. You also have the option to create a vision board digitally using websites like PicMonkey , DreamItAlive,  or a Vision Board App, but I prefer the old school paper and I’ll tell you why next.

Lastly, make sure your vision board is somewhere you will see it daily. Whether it’s hung on your wall, or on your dresser or windowsill. The best way to achieve your goals is to keep them at the top of your mind, so you’re always looking for ways to move yourself closer to them. So by putting your board somewhere you can see it every day, you prompt automatic actions that support your goals. It’s almost like you subconsciously play mind games with yourself, in a good way. 🙂 (This is why I like creating the board on paper!) 

Your ability to visualize your dreams serves as a driving force in them becoming your reality. My latest vision board had many things I was aspiring to do and I have done them all! (except one, I think…lol). I last made a vision board two years ago on March 23rd, 2016, so I am definitely going to try to make a new one this weekend. Also, to reiterate being cost effective, all I’m going to do is turn the old board around and put my new pictures on the back side. Smart right? LOL.

Check out my old one.

photo collage board

My Old Vision Board

The biggest thing on my old board was that I wanted to enroll in school, I did. I wanted to vacation and take more breaks–two months after creating that board I was vacationing in the Dominican Republic. I also wanted to elevate my self confidence and not be so insecure about my body image and I put quotes on the board to affirm me. I wanted to find an outlet where I could inspire others, I didn’t know what I had in mind, and here I am on now the Buzz talking to you beautiful people! I’m not saying the vision board is this magic tool and things will just start happening, things start happening because the board keeps you focused on what you want.

I haven’t yet practiced what I’m about to preach to you, but creating a vision board is something I recommend doing every year, or however periodically you feel depending on the goal term of your last board.

As you continue to grow, evolve and expand, your dreams do too! Acknowledge them!

I hope I’ve inspired you to create your own vision board and really start to move your dreams forward into reality.

Lova’ Ya,



By Robine Jean-Pierre

Do you ever feel like you have no one to talk to? That even if someone were there to listen, they just wouldn’t understand?

I have been haunted by this loneliness from time to time, but I know deep down that there is no such thing as “no one to talk to.” It just takes way more effort to reach out to someone than to stay to myself and sulk.

This semester has been getting progressively more difficult. During the past week in particular, I realized that I was operating in “burn-out” mode. My days started early and ended late; I did not sleep as much as I would have liked; assignments were sneaking up on me and piling up. As a result, I was very physically, emotionally and mentally drained.

Who could I reach out to? Although I had so many friends and family around me, it felt as if talking to them would be futile. They all had problems of their own–why sadden them with my sob-stories? And even if they were willing, could they really afford to stop and listen to me? After my bad attitude had ruined one of our evenings together, it became clear to me that even my own fiancé, Angel, could handle only so much of my mess. I spitefully considered never opening up to anyone again–but then, who would that hurt more: me or them?

Fortunately, taking initiative would not have to be my responsibility all the time. My high school friend Erie texted me the other night, just to check up on me. I opened up to her, explaining how alone I felt. I even mentioned that I was considering going to therapy. Her responses were considerate and attentive. She gently chided me for not talking to her about it sooner. Our conversation really alleviated some of my distress.

Two days later, initiating a face-to-face talk with my long-time friend Cassandra was also very helpful. She and I have very similar upbringings and personalities, so she has been like a big sister to me for most of my life. She understood my rambling and personally identified with my conflicts.

People are not perfect, needless to say; even your confidants might miss your call, or misinterpret what you are attempting to express at first. Yet, once they are ready, they are all ears and all heart. They are quick to listen and give you time to breathe before offering their advice.

I am so grateful for all the people who have helped me overcome personal struggles, including family, teachers, friends, and Angel. One single person may not have been available all the time, but collectively, they have generously offered support, wisdom, counsel and love.

The next time I am tempted to shut down and cut myself off from others during a crisis, I will remember that communicating will only help me in the long run, even if it is painful. There is nothing strong about simply hiding weakness; strength is courageously making yourself vulnerable, knowing that none of us can handle this life alone.

Who do you run to when you are in a crisis? Is opening up about personal struggles a challenge for you? Why or why not?

Life After Undergrad: A reminder about 2018

This year got off to a roaring start, so much going on and so many changes that I felt a little overwhelmed. I just graduated and shed my student status, started job hunting and building my professional persona. I came across this little note I wrote to myself on New Year’s Eve and want to post it to remind myself, and my readers, that it’s never too late in the year to make those changes.

In 2018, I promise to be kinder to myself.

I promise to listen to that little voice in the back of my mind that tries to remind me that I need to put myself first sometimes.

I am going to be selfish with my time, selective in my company and stand firm in my morals. In 2017 and years past I’ve given too much of myself to those who did not deserve it. I’ve taken time away from my own happiness to see to it that others were happy.

Not this year. This year, I will not lose sleep worrying about problems that don’t belong to me. I will not put the needs of the people ahead of my own, especially when those people never check on my happiness.

I will open my mind to new opportunities and experiences, even if they’re a little scary and unknown to me. I deserve to live my dreams, and I’m going to spread my wings far and wide.

I will learn to say no, and stick to it. I will learn to decline people, situations and opportunities that are not in my best interest or aligned with my goals or who I am as a person.

I will not let things that I cannot control, control me, my peace of mind or happiness anymore. If I can’t control it and it doesn’t affect my well-being, I will let it go. If it does affect me, I will deal with it as it comes, and then move on.

In 2018, I will grow, I will be happy, and I will make sure that I am okay before I check on the world.



As a young immigrant child, it was quite the disappointment to find that there were no white picket fences in Brooklyn, NY and no discernible “Give me your lunch money!” bully in my elementary school. The archetypes I had been exposed to in my time of watching movies and cartoons had not prepared me for the real-life situation of a New York City childhood.


I continue to consume American media and yet again, my time in middle school and high school produced the same result as in elementary school. Where were the mean girls? I had wondered. The douche-y jocks? The outcasts in their corner of the lunch room? Where? WHERE???

What I thought high school would be like: 

Three girls dressed nicely walking down a crowded hallway as their last friend accidentally falls into a trashcan.

How high school pretty much went:


Trashcan incidens: 0


So, upon entering college, having already been proven wrong multiple times, my mind insisted that this experience would, in fact, be just like Sydney White or The House Bunny or even Pitch Perfect.


Clearly, I wasn’t paying attention.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned while attending City Tech, it’s that you can find your place and no one will judge you for it. Everyone is too busy trying to get through class and paying tuition that there’s no time for petty judgements. I’ve found different circles to circumnavigate on campus, between my Buzz sisterhood and the family I’ve created in the CMCE department.

The ones who could easily fit the “jock” or “cool guy” stereotypes in their high school days are some of the hardest working academically and the most accessible. The “pretty girls” don’t care how good you look, just how good their GPA is. No one fits in a single over-exaggerated archetype. Instead, the people I’ve met rarely judge openly and allow themselves to be proven wrong.

Life is no movie. There is no singular category for the people I meet and I have no idea why I continue looking for them.

Born to Stand Out

a colorful vegetarian dish

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

I’m assuming here, but I believe that everyone at some stage of their lives has felt like an outsider or been bullied because they were different. The word, “normal,” is tantalizing as it is, represents something that society views as a standard or status quo. The truth is that everyone’s aspect of what is normal varies from person to person. It can be very difficult to truly pinpoint the characteristics of what normality is in a human form. I am sure that as you are reading this that something has come to mind…a groundbreaking moment in your life where you felt like a pariah, a defining moment of your life where you realized that you are different from everyone else. Sure, there are times when we all fit in…such as being in college, where every single person that you encounter is seeking the same educational experience as you regardless of personal matters.

Do you remember the difficult moments in life when you felt as if your entire world was destroyed because you didn’t fit in…no matter how hard you tried, you just didn’t belong? Or the times that your parent would say something empowering to you in order to encourage that you are special…that being different is the most unique and special thing about you? I have never had either one of my parents be that driving force in reinforcing my self-esteem. They never readily saw the struggles that I faced or offered any support through the instances where I relied on them the most. I have never felt that I belonged anywhere…a place I once called home was simply a location of residence and nothing more. I have been ridiculed so often in my life that I have no recollection of where I felt that I fit in. I was the epitome of being different. And, at the age of ten, I realized it. I was a rarity…there were not a lot of other ten year olds-at least none that I knew- that were homeschooled, multiracial vegetarians who was being raised by an overly strict single parent (but was still allowed to have a dyed streak of bright pink hair) in a purely matriarch household.

a bowl of ice cream and cookies

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

I suppose what I am trying to say is everyone is special…each person is one of a kind. You were born to stand out. For so much of my life, I attempted to distance myself from going against the social norms but I am beginning to understand the value of simply being me. I want so badly to be successful in this world…in my life…in the lives of those that I have become a part of so heavily. I want to stand out…I want to be recognized for the differences that I possess from others. I utilize my familiarity of being different to help me be a better baker and pastry chef. And it helped me especially in situations where my uniqueness was celebrated. I remember when I took a lab course for my major of hospitality management which was The Art of Vegetarian Cuisine…it was amazing to realize that though my life may have been very different than my peers, I could still be accepted by way of the knowledge that it has given me along the way. Unlike many of my peers, I was able to directly understand the class as well as the vast variety of ingredients being used as it reminded me of my childhood. As a chef, it evoked my expansive palate by way of the culinary experiences that I’ve been lucky enough to have despite being different.