Virtues from Motherhood: The road ahead

‘Where you’ve been is nothing compared to where you’re going.”

I repeat this to myself on those days I feel the weight of my past slowing me down. Some days, it’s hard not to count up the times things didn’t go your way, or the times you wish you could’ve done things different. On occasion, I find myself lost in thought, or missing priceless moments with people who are no longer a part of my journey. I miss the “good ole’ days” and the simplicity of those moments where the short comings didn’t matter; but then I remember what’s to come.

I still have so many memories to make and so many laughs to be had that those lost moments seem less heavy. I used to think the future would never come, and like many kids I couldn’t wait to grow up and live life. Now that it’s here I wonder why on earth I rushed this phenomenon we call life and why I didn’t look at the bigger picture sooner. Too often we get lost in the little things, the small stuff and don’t remember that we still have a great big world out in front of us. Someone once told me that what matters for 5 minutes today won’t even be remembered 5 years from now, and they were right. Things that I lost sleep over even three years ago are totally irrelevant to me today, and I’m sure the things that I toss and turn over tonight will be a distant memory in a years’ time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is take today with a grain of salt, dust yourself and keep moving. Try not to stress over the things that are out of your hands and accept what was, and look forward to what will be. Forgive yourself when you fail and applaud yourself when you succeed, you are your biggest fan. The love you have for yourself will radiate to others and only you can set the tone for tomorrow and beyond, make that tone as positive as it can be.

Load Over Area

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Peeps! My next interview will be next week.
For today, here’s a weird STEM Dad Joke!

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If a load is applied to a smaller area, the resulting stress is much larger.

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And if that same load is applied to a larger area, the smaller the resulting stress.

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So, by that logic, the more I stress eat, the larger my area becomes. The larger my area, the more space for the load of school, work and home to disperse upon. Thus, the less stress I will incur…

Right…?

RIGHT?!

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Welp, at least I tried?

In all seriousness, our semester is coming to an end, my friends. It’ll get hard to stay on task with so many things flying your way, but I believe in you! Find your way of coping with stress and roll with it.

If you need some inspiration, maybe check out Cherishe’s work! She’s got some great advice for ending the semester on a good note whilst still taking care of yourself. Its a hard thing to do, but you are the occupant of a body that needs love and care. If you need time to do that, take it! At the end of the day, you’re the only one living in a body that doesn’t come with replacement parts.

Take some time and breathe and find a small thing to decompress while we hit the home stretch! (For me, I love a shot of humor!)

I hope you find your outlet, and I’ll catch you next week for another interview!

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Artwork by Pebbles.

The Beginning of The End…..

Good Afternoon city tech, Genny here! The semester is finally coming to end. Phew! Give yourselves a pat on the back for coming so far. As for the freshmen, congrats! If you made it this far you can get through anything. Although the semester is almost finished, it doesn’t mean you slack off, this isn’t high school. Here you have important finals that you must study and prepare for, weeks in advance. First things first, based on your classes you’ll either have an exam or a project. If you have an exam, create a review sheet of everything that’s been taught within the class; flashcards work too. It all depends on how you work. If you have a project, as I mentioned in a previous post, flash drives are key! Always have a spare flash drive or as I call it, a back up with your work inside it because if you come into class empty handed to a final presentation, well that’s on you. This is college and here we learn to take responsibility for our work and actions.

Calligraphy by: Gennessy Palma

For you freshman, I know it’s rough, I’ve been there. Just keep in mind that there’s lots of resources in this school that you can use if you’re anxious or nervous. During this time in the semester there are also stands in the school that offer free beverages and foods to take if you left the house with an empty stomach before an exam. It’s never a good thing to skip breakfast especially on an important day like finals, you can get lightheaded and you won’t be able to concentrate well, or worse, you could even faint. The most important thing to understand is sleep. Ladies and gentlemen without sleep how will you function in your exams??? Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made, staying up all night before an exam to study, I was deeply disoriented from lack of sleep since I did not sleep the night before either, fortunately I passed the exam but not on very good terms/grades. To wrap this post up, breathe and keep a calm head because we as humans don’t do well heated up or afraid. Fears cloud the mind and a clouded mind leads to failure. Keep your head up we will see this through the end! Best of luck to anyone who’s already taking finals this week!

Photographer/Illustrator/Translator: Gennessy Palma

The Semester is Almost Over!

Hello students, faculty, graduates, undergraduates, and all others!! I have amazing news, the fall semester is finally coming to an end, and we have all made it through. I must say that this semester was extremely trying in my opinion, and I am more than ecstatic to kick my heels up and rest. However, I’ve noticed that although the semester is winding down, I can’t shake the feeling that I have assignments to hand in. At times when I decide to take a little break, I find myself feeling guilty that I’m not doing work. I also noticed that it’s a bit difficult for me to sleep late, because I still have anxiety about completing assignments that are already for the most part done. I still wake up at 6:00 am, even on the weekends, because in the back of my mind, I have to be ready for class. After I have awoken, and I realize that I don’t have to go to school on the weekend, a feeling of anxiety comes over me because I’m not being productive. I’m not hustling to review notes for different classes, complete lab reports, and study for exams. My mind, body, and soul have adapted to constantly working that now I am unable to adjust to having down time!

My advice to anyone who is experiencing the same difficulties as me is to GIVE IT TIME! Throughout the year we neglect all of our needs in order to finish off every semester with passing grades. We barely get eight hours of sleep because we are either up studying or partying before class the next day. Students rarely eat a well-balanced meal throughout the semester, because we look for the cheapest meal, so that we can preserve our money. Students rarely get enough exercise, asides from running up and down the stairs from classes, which also can play a large role in not getting enough rest. Students deprive themselves of all the basic necessities that will ensure a happy and healthy semester. Once the semester ends we are all exhausted, but we find it difficult to unwind immediately.

I urge students to take advantage of this upcoming time of relaxation. I know everyone has anxiety, while waiting for their final grades. Just take a minute for yourself and BREATHE! I’m sure that everyone knows where they stand academically, based on exams taken throughout the semester, as well as how comfortable they felt on their finals. The semester is almost over, and stressing over finals will not improve your grades!!! Stress is never helpful, only harmful.

During winter break, take time for yourself to just relax! Find activities that meet your needs, whether these activities are exhilarating or peaceful. Join a yoga class to become one with your body, or join a kickboxing class to relieve stress. Find whatever activities tickle your fancy during break and DO THEM!! Make the most of it. Hit the reset button! This whole semester has been based on studying hard and getting good grades. You know what they say “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. DON’T be DULL!! Go out there and experience the world! Make amazing memories, and enjoy your winter break. YOU DESERVE IT!!

Inspe

This morning I’m taking inspiration from one of my favorite blogs, Inspe.
Inspe is ran by one of my friends, a divine being, a gem, Lauren Purnell. In Lauren’s words, Inspe, a twist on the word inspiration,  is “the art of getting your life. Anything that speaks to your soul and brings you joy. Spreading the vibe of authenticity. Create your life. Dream it. Speak it. Live it.”

I met her at my current job, where she no longer works because she wanted to pursue her entrepreneurial dream and abandon our friendship lol.

Just joking we’re still “amigas4life”. Inspe is a daily photo blog email. She sends out this email at 4 am with memes and gifs that have no specific story to tell, but you get to create your own story and interpret them how you please.
If you follow my posts you will know that I am a MEME QUEEN.

If you’ve ever texted me you will know that I am also a self proclaimed GIF connoisseur lol. So this blog is like heaven in an email. The thing is memes and really gifs really speak their own language. It puts imagery to feeling which is interesting because most people are stimulated by visuals. It’s almost like when you’re texting or talking on the phone and you can’t see someone face to face, you let them express your emotions for you. I love it!

So anyway, Inspe is unique in the sense that it leaves interpretation up to the beholder. Sometimes it’s just interesting or eye-catching aesthetics, funny stuff, sometimes you’re like “that is so trueeeeeeee!”, sometimes you have no choice but to screenshot at least 3 of the images because they hit something on the nail and send it forward.
You never know what you’re getting which is the best part.

As like a little preview, this was today’s inspe email:

There was a few gifs as well that I can’t add here but you get the gist.
Awesome Randomness.
If you want to subscribe, which you should lol, you can at this link and you will start receiving the emails.

Hope you decide to sign up, just sharing something I adore♥

Love ya, Neffi

A Passion for Poetry

By Robine Jean-Pierre

Throughout my years in school, I have come across students who have found poetry boring or difficult. They were not intrigued by Shakespeare’s sonnets as his contemporaries may have been, nor could they wrap their head around metaphors. It was a challenge for me at some point too, having to excavate the meaning of a piece by digging deep down between the lines. It was a skill that we had to be taught. However, I quickly realized that I enjoyed using words to paint pictures of my own; it was exciting to use devices like rhyme and alliteration, and to say more with less (in comparison to typical prose).  

Poetry has been a passion of mine since elementary school. One of the earliest poems I remember writing was for Poem In Your Pocket Day; it told a touching story about my pet guinea pig Jeannie. Jeannie was totally imaginary, and I created her on a whim through my poem, but it must have been convincing enough to get some sympathy and attention from classmates and teachers. Other memorable poems around this time included an ode to teachers, and a vivid description of a “storm” which was later revealed to be the clothes cycling in a washing machine.

When I got to middle school and the “love bug” bit me, my poetry became very romanticized and emotional. I obsessed over a crush and my poetry tracked everything from the initial infatuation to the devastating heartbreak of seeing him end up with a close friend of mine at the time.

In high school, my work broadened and deepened to reflect my growing self-discovery, romantic desire, and belief in God. My creative expression was at its peak, and I went to open mics, attended Poetry Club occasionally, and stayed after school to review submissions to The Magnet, our school’s literary magazine (to which I also submitted my own work). During this time, poetry was my primary outlet, and I am happy that most of my work are still intact; I compiled scraps of paper and pages from other notebooks, and consolidated the poems I found into one composition notebook.

I find it understandable, yet surprising, when people say they do not like poetry; it’s similar to when someone tells me they don’t really like music. To me, poetry and music are simply media of expression; no one ever really dislikes the medium itself, but they may have certain preferences within it. The great thing is that poetry has so many different formats and styles that there is probably something for everyone. You have extravagant Shakespearian sonnets written in a style of English that we no longer speak, but then you have rap which is basically poetry fixed to an audible beat; you also have the smooth, sophisticated spoken word with an irregular rhythm and possibly no rhyme scheme, often depicted on TV being performed in dimly lit cafés and bars, punctuated by snapping and bongo drums. But then there are also lovable, laughable rhyming poems filled with whimsical stories, carefully crafted by writers like Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. There are bite-sized haikus loaned from the Japanese, following a five-seven-five syllable rule and often depicting nature. The list goes on and on, and the subject matter is infinite.

I have experimented with all of the genres I listed above, and at its core, I see poetry as the art of arranging words, either according to their sound or meaning (but most of the time, both) in order to create an impression or share an idea. The reason we enjoy aphorisms and sayings like “black don’t crack” or “live, love, laugh” is because the words were intentionally grouped together, and their commonality makes them easier to remember.

I have not been writing as much as I did during high school, but I am grateful for the joy that comes to me from reading, listening to, or writing an impactful piece. I hope you enjoy the poem that I wrote below called “Photosynthesis.” It is about the power of persistence in spite of adverse circumstances. This can be considered an allegory because I used plants as symbols for human beings. Give it a try and see what you can gather from it. Read it a few times over if necessary, and please feel free to comment with any questions or remarks.

Photosynthesis
by Robine Jean-Pierre

You’re a product of your environment, some sage once presumed
Perhaps while gazing upon a garden freshly pruned.
Fertile soil, hydration, ample sunlight,
and any flower will flourish if the conditions are just right.
A simple equation, a quaint demonstration.
However,
What’s to say for the weeds that creep through concrete? How do they grow?
Does a seed trapped beneath the cinder block street somehow just know
that its temporary shelter in the ground below
is only a foundation, a platform for elevation?
Is photosynthesis some unstoppable force,
and can sunrays like X-rays penetrate the most dense materials to complete its course?
It’s clear then that traditional conditions are simply not enough
to determine the destiny of a seed, no matter how rough.
It’s something supernatural for a creature with no sense of sight
To press past hardness and darkness and burst forth into marvelous light.
We could take a page from one of these persistent plants–
Albeit rooted in the soil, it is not bound by circumstance.
Regardless of the climate of one’s environment,
Divine alignment ultimately triumphs over confinement.

Virtues from Motherhood: What I’ve learned from a decade in college

If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know I’ve been in college for a bit, ten years to be exact. In 2008, I began my college journey and in June 2018 I will walk across that stage to complete it. In that time, my life has gone through several transformations and seen some trying moments, as well as triumphant ones. I have learned so much about myself as well, what I’m good at, and what I’m not, and most of all how to love myself. I started college as a naive 18-year-old with little to no humility but I will finish it as a woman with grace and self-assurance.

For the earlier part of my college career I had no idea who I was or where I was going; I didn’t believe in myself or my dreams. I had been told “no” so many times and been shot down for things I thought I was good at that I stopped caring. I slowly learned however, that all things happen in due time and some things can only come with age. You can’t rush the process and you can’t skip steps and sometimes, you’ll even have to repeat them. Repeating a step was something I was venomously against for years, often dodging things I needed to do or complete out of fear or immaturity, avoiding taking responsibility for my short comings.

It’s not all bad, though; I have these experiences to share with my readers, my friends and most importantly my daughter. I have the wisdom and the personal experience to guide others and hopefully make a difference in their lives. This ample time spent in college has helped shape who I am and what I want to do with my life and it has reaffirmed my love of writing.

  • I have learned that I am destined to help others, if not by any other means than with my words.
  • I have learned to be patient and trust that everything happens for a reason.
  • I have learned not to take on the burdens of others and that it’s okay to say no sometimes.
  • I have learned to be selfish, with my time and energy because other people’s negativity can poison my peace of mind.
  • I have learned that not everyone has the same mentality I do and that’s okay.
  • I have learned to be sure of myself and stand for what I believe in.
  • I have learned that there isn’t always a right answer, sometimes there are shades of grey.
  • I have learned that it’s okay to not be okay and to ask for help when you need it.
  • Most of all, I have learned that life goes on.

In the past decade, I have endured things I never thought I’d have to. I had to navigate life roles that usually happen consecutively; all at the same time. I juggled being a mother, being a student and holding a full-time job. I had to raise a little girl as a single mother and make choices for her education when I was still making choices for myself. Some days I felt like quitting, like giving up and just walking away, but I kept pressing forward. If I had to sum up my journey in just one word I would say, invaluable. This journey has been invaluable in more ways than one, but the main one is experience and that is something I could never trade or replace, and I am glad that I have that experience to shape my future.

The Prosthetist Pt. 2

Cold-season-Lady-Business

 

As promised, the rest of Harold’s interview! Recap:

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Harold:
So, he… [is] a double leg amputee. I think its above the knee… As a teenager, he was building his own prosthetics and that’s how he fell in love with it. And, so in the TED talk, you see how he built feet for a woman who [is] a dancer— Who [is] a below the knee amputee. And she was dancing across the stage and I cried a little bit… It was wonderful. 
And there are women in his team! There are! 
Pebbles:  
So, aside from career-wise, who is the person you look up to the most? 
Harold:
 My mama! Um, one thing I admire is dedication and just sheer resilience and my mom has all of that… She overcame poverty in Dominican Republic. She risked her life to come over here. And now, we’re slowly overcoming poverty here! 
She works really hard to make sure everyone in the family is happy, not just her… She’s a giver… Yeah. Besides her? Elon Musk. If I could make up my own father, Elon Musk would be my father.(Chuckles)
Pebbles: 
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from her?
Harold: 
From her? Like I said earlier, it’s dedication…. She was on a boat, with more people than should be on a boat. She’s afraid of the ocean. She can’t swim. All of these things! And she still did it.. Because she was determined to make a better life for herself and for her family. She came and had no support, she made friends, she made family. And to create a life like that, all by yourself? I think that would inspire anybody. I’m just lucky enough to have that as a mom, you know? 
Pebbles:
So, for you, does feminism have a specific definition? 
Harold: 
Hmm… I think— What is it generally? It is the notion that women and men are on an equal playing field in all aspects of life. That, I agree with. Except biological things, of course… It’s kind of a varying definition for me because I’ve spoken to women who want equal pay but won’t open a door for me. Its like… You can’t…(Chuckles) Sexism is sexism… Men [also] feel so entitled to certain things just for the sole reason that we’re men. And that’s it. I don’t think anyone should feel entitled to anything… Aside from basic human rights. But, honestly, I’m just rambling. I don’t know if I’m answering the question or… I don’t think I have an answer, which is why I’m rambling. (Laughs)
Pebbles:
That’s alright! It seems obvious to me, but do you identify as a feminist? 
Harold:
  I like to, yeah. I feel like I still need to educate myself more. There’s definitely things that I see more and more often and I get pissed off about. Even in movies, or hearing guys talk about women. You ever hear a guy say, like, “Oh, I would sleep with her!” And I just start thinking, like, “ Bro,  would SHE sleep with you?” (Chuckles) You’re not asking that question. That question is equally, if not, more important… You’re judging… Like it’s only your decision. But it’s not true… [There are] so many things men need to unlearn. It’s easy to say, but hard to do. 
Pebbles:
Would you feel the same way, if women simply objectified you and nothing more? 
Harold:
… My aunt was howling out my window at construction workers who were working right beside my window. Saying, “ Hey, cutie!” And they looked up in disgust… like, “Oh my God, who is yelling these things?!” And its crazy, when a woman will compliment a guy like that, out of nowhere, she must be crazy or something. Something must be wrong with her… It’s like we want women to not want us but only want us… But, yeah, it would bother me if I was seen, for example,  like a piece of meat. 
Pebbles:
Final random question—
Harold:
My favorite color is purple! 
Pebbles:
(Laughing) No! Okay, Justin Bieber, if you were trapped in your favorite place in the world forever, who would you take with you? 
Harold:
Holy crap! That is intense! Because on one level, I know my mom’s gonna take care of me. On another level, I don’t think she give me the level of physical and emotional support I’m gonna need. (Laughs) And if I’m trapped forever… Alright. I’m gonna bring a woman that I can start a family with. We could start over! Yeah! 
Next week: My brothers, Raphael and Erikson! 

I really enjoy getting to know more about my friends and delving into the psyche of the men around me. Hopefully by next week all of my illustrations ill be back on track!

 

The World of Cupcakes

Cupcakes stacked on a tier stand

Image by: Bren Alanis

Cupcakes. There is not much to say about cupcakes when defining them as their name gives away the true necessary reasoning of its existence. It is essentially a miniature version of a cake for an individualized portion that can be served without the hassle of slicing a cake. This ensures the same portion for each person as the sizing of the cupcakes is always the same instead of the varying comparison of cake slices. Hence the coined name of the cupcake…a cake that is shaped like a cup. While cupcakes are the kryptonite to pastry chefs like Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes (you know, the star of Ace of Cakes and many other Food Network television programs), they are innovative creations.There are still varying sizes of cupcakes between the standard size, jumbo size, and miniature size…they all serve the same purpose. Somehow, the world has become so widely in love with all things in miniature versions which is why cupcakes became so trendy as they were viewed as miniature versions of cakes. It is amazing to see the many creations that can be made from such a small dessert of cupcakes.

Food hybrids are still taking both the culinary and confectionary worlds by storm as it allows for two individual foods to be paired together in order to create an entirely new food item. This is what occurred with the cronut which was the pairing of the croissant and the doughnut as well as the pizza cone which is the conjoined duo of the fixings in a pizza slice wrapped in a cone to have the appearance of an ice cream cone. Cupcakes have somehow become a part of this trend especially since it challenges chefs to not only create a food hybrid with a cupcake but to produce a hybrid on a smaller scale to fit the size of a cupcake as well.

There are amazing cupcake hybrids that the dessert world has to offer…one being the flan cupcake. Flan is a spongy caramelized custard that has a syrupy caramel. This is then made into a miniature version and topped onto a cupcake in lieu of frosting.

a small flan on top of a cupcake

Image by: Alma

Another being the crème brulee cupcake which consists of the cupcake center being hulled out to then be filled with a custard filling. Instead of being frosted with traditional frosting, it is topped with the custard before having sugar sprinkled over it then it is blowtorched to get the beautiful caramelized bruleed finish.

a cupcake with a caramelized topping

Image by: beantownbaker

Lastly, there is the croquembouche cupcake which is based off of the famous French dessert which consists of cream puffs that are precisely layered in order to compile into a cone shaped that is then bound together with threads of caramel. This is a dessert that is readily made for special events such as for weddings. This is a complex dessert to replicate onto a cupcake because it must be made on such a miniature scale in which there are miniature cream puffs that are stacked into a very small cone that can fit into the parameters of the cupcake itself before being decorated accordingly with the hot caramel.

a small tower of mini cream puffs on a cupcake

Image by: cupcakegalore

Comment below on dessert hybrids that you would like to be created on a cupcake.

A Ride to Remember

Since September 11th attacks, there has been so many iterations of memorabilia to grasp the honor and respect for the people lost on that tragic day. The scales of grandeur range drastically; we can see or the objects of honor everyday to the point that we forget why they exist. From simple keychains, to water bottles engraved with the devastating date, or that mural you pass by everyday on your way to work, Calatrava’s Oculus, or that large shiny beautiful mass that we all look toward not replacing the towers but emitting the strength and determination of New York City, Freedom Tower. Small enough to fit in one’s pocket or large enough to be the tallest building in the infamous New York City skyline, all objects of honor convey the same thing; remembrance, desire to rebuild, a method to carry such a heavy burden together, and many other beautiful concepts. This post is dedicated to those objects by mentioning a striking piece of art that was made in memorium of 9/11 and the acts of rebuilding thereafter.

a front view of the 9/11 memorial motorcycle

Paul Teutul Jr. (yes, that guy from American Chopper) stylized a motorcycle for the cause and it was named the “9/11 Memorial Motorcycle”. According to 9/11 Memorial organization It made its debut on September 5, 2011 right on the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site. This was a few days before the National September 11 Memorial & Museum officially opened; the motorcycle was built for this congratulatory event. It was commissioned by Daniel Tishman, who is a board member of the 9/11 memorial and chose to reveal it publicly on Vesey Street with, at the time, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels. Another vehicular masterpiece inspired by the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle was then donated for raffle to raise as much money as possible for the organization.

I read on Manufacturing.net that Teutul felt this project was the most important to ever be completed by the company. He worked vigilantly with Tishman Construction who were responsible for the building of Freedom Tower and the Oculus. Daniel Tishman is the CEO of the construction team and was how so much attention to detail was implemented to the finished product. Teutul expressed his utter honor and dedication to the project, he explained “We built the bike to be a sculpture and pay tribute to 9/11. It speaks of the resiliency of America and the new beginning that the new towers represent.”

a back view of the 9/11 memorial motorcycle

The motorcycle was housed in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum for an entire year before it was moved for preservation against Hurricane Sandy; it was temporarily held in Teutul’s warehouse. Nearly a month after the storm, the bike was replaced to its innate home. The motorcycle, once again, was a small sign to rebuilding the city after a devastating occurrence; giving us hope that we can reconstruct ourselves as we once did before.

a side view of the 9/11 memorial motorcycle