Sunday, June 3, 2018

Life Update.

Hi!

I hope you are all having a fantastic start to summer!  Recently, I have been really craving going back to my roots and being more creative.  Constantly being in school and studying is a big part of life but it is often draining and can take a lot of the life out of you.  So I decided to start painting and writing again because sewing takes up too much time.

I have been doing so much studying and practically living at the library.  This past semester I also rushed a medical fraternity and solidified my track towards medical school.  That has been a very interesting but also very stressful.  Also, engineering is hard, it is not impossible but it is definitely a difficult track but I am really excited to be able to apply all of the knowledge into the real world one day. 

One of the main things that have been on my mind is just travel and experiencing things outside of just gaining knowledge from a textbook.  I have always been a huge proponent of education but I think that a big part of learning is being able to go out and experience the real world and other cultures.  I really want to go to Europe, climb Mount Kili, walk around Sydney, and even hike up Big Sur.  I just haven't figured out exactly how or when I am going to do any of it.

Another big aspect of my life has always been my religion, of course, but right now me and the Big Guy are not on the best of terms.  There are always ups and downs in every relationship and that includes a spiritual one.  My mother always says that everything is done in His time and not my time so it is difficult just to accept that the majority of life is not in your control and you just have to trust. 

All in all, life has just been a lot of studying, sleeping, and trying to keep my sanity lol.  I have so many ideas for new posts and I will be making blogging a new part of my schedule so look out for more posts.  Leave any ideas below!

A.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Comparison.


Hello.

So I am sure that a lot of you have heard the expression, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
And I completely agree.

If you compare yourself to the people around you, you will never find happiness in all the things you already have.  This doesn't always have to be material possessions, it can be absolutely anything.  One of the main reasons I think comparison is such a negative habit is because it fosters a sense of envy.

Yet, I probably compare myself more than anyone I know.  I was at brunch the other day and one of my best friends even pointed it out to me.  It's something so simple that even I neglect to accept.

I've said time and time again, and I will continue to say it: we live in a world where it is so simple to look at someone else's life through a screen and just imagine how wonderful their lives must be.  Recently, I've been majorly struggling.  Struggling to find who I am, struggling to find happiness in the little things, struggling not to compare my life to others on social media, struggling not to focus on the future, struggling to find motivation, just struggling.  I have felt sad and alone.  And I am not afraid to admit it because it happens to all of us.

Then I think about how God gave another day to live.  Another opportunity to serve Him.  God, so wonderful, made the mountains and the sea and decided the world needed one of me and one of you.

But, then you think, if He made this world so wonderful why don't I have as much as her or why does that person have less than me?  Why, if everything is so peachy, am I not given the same opportunities as others? Why am I tempted by so much? Why do I fail at so many things? Why do the people around me care so little while they have so many people around them that care so much? Why do I have to work harder than others to achieve the same results? Why does their life seem so perfect while mine is so flawed?

We all have our own battles.  And I promise you that there is nothing in this world that a little faith and hard work cannot fix.  So rather than comparing your journey to someone else, try to fill your heart with gratitude.  If you notice something you don't like, rather than dwelling on it see how you can fix it, pray to God to help you, and have the patience and faith that it will get done.

There will be days where you cannot find an ounce of gratefulness in your heart and others where it comes pouring out of you.  But every day you have to wake up with a grateful heart.  No matter what.

Write your gratitude list in the comments below as well as any requests or post ideas!

A.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Why I Never Quit Blogging.

Hey!

So you guys are all probably wondering why after months of not writing anything I would always come back to blogging.  To be honest, it's not some super awesome reason other than I really love writing.  Blogging for me, was always fun.  It was never a tedious task or something I was forced to do.  Which is why it became something I could put on the backburner.

Oftentimes, I fill my days up with work and studying and lack to plan for having time to do the things I love.  I haven't consistently worked out in months, I do not sew anymore, I don't spend as much time with family and friends, and I neglected to pray as often and block out periods of time in my day specifically dedicated to the Lord.

My life became consumed by school, getting good grades, applying for research, being involved in extracurricular activities, so much so that I would not allow myself enough time to decompress and do things I truly enjoyed.  Not that I don't love learning, but school can oftentimes be a tedious and stressful part of a student's life.

Why am I telling you all of this? There is a lesson.  Just as God took the seventh day to rest after creating the universe, we must too take time to rest.

This spring break has been particularly rough for me.  I find myself staring at a little screen for the majority of the day, watching my schoolmates go to the beach, have brunch, enjoy life.  I felt like I was missing out. I still feel like I am missing out.  I feel lost, confused, upset; you name it and I feel it. 

But blogging is an outlet for me. Writing is an outlet for me.  I used to journal every single night.  I used to write down my prayers or write little poems or just talk about my day and feelings.  And I am writing now at a time where I just feel unsure about everything.

That's why I never quit.  Blogging won't ever be a full-time thing for me, I am going to be an engineer and work in the medical field someday and be a wife and a mother.  But I can always blog while I do all of it.  And if my blog can help even one person, then it is enough for me.

A.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Anxiety.


Hey!

So today, I want to discuss a topic I am all too familiar with: anxiety! You're probably wondering why I am so excited to discuss this but in reality, I am just really happy that have made it to a point in my life where I can not only openly talk about anxiety but I feel confident enough to give others advice on how to cope and deal with anxiety.

Anxiety is not always a sign of deep stress or even that there is something wrong with you, it is a normal mechanism that your body uses to react to a wide array of situations. Feeling anxious if there is a problem with your job or you have a test you did not prepare for is totally normal and shows that your body is reacting rationally to the situations it faces.  Someone with an anxiety disorder has o much anxiety that it interferes with daily life, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

I used to have terrible anxiety over the future, anxiety about what others thought about me, anxiety over whether I would be able to reach my goals, anxiety about money and financial tribulations, anxiety about what food I am going to eat, anxiety about my room not being clean, anxiety about whether or not I would ever get married, anxiety about whether or not checking that I had locked my car three times was enough, anxiety over whether my parents would be okay when I left the house, anxiety about if my little sister was being bullied, anxiety about getting into another car accident, anxiety about whether I prayed enough, anxiety over every little thing.  Everything.  It got to the point where I could not leave my car to pump gas because I was afraid that the people around me would stare or judge me.  I could not do something as simple as leaving my house without having a million thoughts running through my head.  Granted, I never told anyone and I dealt with all of these negative feelings alone, but they still took over my life.

Now, I am part of an amazing organization of almost 200 people at my school.  I don't stress the little things or those things I have no control over.  And the best part is, I no longer have panic attacks or sudden drastic shifts in my mood.

How did I get to this point? How can you get to this point?

Well, for one, I began trusting God and trusting that His plan for me was better than anything I could ever think of or stress over.  That was probably the biggest change in my life that truly led me to happiness and true joy.  I took my stress and my anxiety and my tears and I handed them over to Him, knowing that He would take care of me and everything would be alright.

Secondly, I realized that a great deal of the things in my mind were things I could not control.  I cannot control whether people like me or judge me, so why not continue living my life and doing whatever I want? Do not stress over things you cannot control.

Thirdly, stop wasting your time!  If you're spending your time being idle or sitting around and doing nothing, you are going to have more time to overthink and ruminate on negative thoughts.  Fill your days with schoolwork, volunteer opportunities, hanging out with family and friends, etc.  Sometimes it's better to be very busy so that you don't give yourself the opportunity to overthink.

Lastly, just breathe.  Oftentimes when you're in the middle of a panic attack or your staying up late at nite because you cannot sleep, or you feel as if your drowning in your own thoughts remember to just breathe.  Take a deep breathe and try to revert your negative thoughts to something more positive.

Anxiety is difficult.  I may be well for the most part, but there are still days where I struggle with keeping my mindset in the right place.  I don't think I could write everything down on this subject on one page or even in one day.  There are so many different types of anxieties and different people have different coping mechanisms but overall, this is what helped me.  If you are truly dealing with anything and feel like you need someone to talk to, I am always here and I encourage you to seek help if your negative thoughts make you feel as though you should harm yourself or others around you.

I truly hope this helps someone out there.  Always remember, that with God anything is possible and He will help you get through all of your trials.

A.

Monday, February 19, 2018

17.


Hello.

I genuinely did not want to write this post.

I wanted to avoid the subject at all cost.  I wanted to keep living my life as if nothing happened.

But the reality is, that 17 innocent lives were lost and countless others are in ruins. 

I would be a hypocrite not to discuss something that happened only 30 minutes away from my own home.

What upsets me most about the shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School is not that it was so close to home, or that people died, or that it occurred on a national and religious holiday, or even that this is such an acceptable part of American lives, but the fact that this person has the capability of making people fear for their lives when they are pursuing an education.  That upsets me most. These were children, innocent children.  And now so many of these innocent children are afraid to attend school, parents are afraid to send their children to get an education, school is literally an essential part of every child's life and thousands of students are now afraid of the institution that was meant to propel them towards a better life. 

This post is not political and will not discuss the subject in detail.  I simply ask every one of you to place yourself in the situation that those children faced the day a young man walked into their school with the intention of killing as many people as possible.  Place yourself in their shoes.  Feel their fear, try to imagine the sheer atrocity it must have been to sit and wait in a classroom, not knowing if you would make it out alive.  Then, place yourself in the position of the parents that sent their child off to school every morning for the past 18 years and now will never see their baby ever again, will never hear their voice ever again, will never hug them ever again, will never hear their laughter, will never watch them walk across the graduation stage or get married or have children of their own.  Have some compassion for those families and those students that have suffered. 

I implore all of you to hug those around you that you love, make it known to them how much they mean to you.  Pray for the families, pray for the souls of those students that lost their lives, pray for the young man who did this, pray that no other child will ever have to suffer this pain again.

I know that prayers and condolences will not make a change if they are not followed by action, but I choose not to get political because that's not my intention.  I am incredibly proud of the willpower of Broward as a county and a community, these young people will truly make a change in the world because of their choice to not be silenced but rather use their voices to help others in the future.

I leave you with this quote:
"Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression, and disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires creative and courageous action." - Pope John Paul II

A.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lent.



Hey.

So lent is a very important time for any Christian, but particularly as a Catholic, this time is highlighted by a multitude of events that culminate into the season of  Easter.  This is probably the most important season, surpassing Christmas simply because it is held in remembrance of Jesus' greatest sacrifice for each and every one of us.

I know you're wondering, "Well Ana, what are you planning on giving up this Lent?"
Well, my response to that question is quite difficult because I'm not giving up a specific item, but rather I am choosing to give up more of my time to the Lord.  I don't really have any negative habits that I must get rid of or any temptations that are causing me harm, but there are things I don't do like pray on a regular basis.

I've decided to dedicate at least half an hour every day to prayer and communicating with God.  The first thing my father said when I told him this was that half an hour was way too little.  But in reality, going from five minutes a day to an hour seems like a drastic change.

To be honest, I am the type of person that prays throughout the day and has a little conversation with God asking Him for guidance or saying a short prayer of gratitude or simply going to Him when I really need someone to talk to.  But I feel that dedicating myself to sitting down and simply thinking about Him, maybe praying the rosary, or reading some verses from the bible, would really help strengthen my relationship with the Lord immensely.

We all have super busy schedules, trust me I know the struggle.  But we should all be willing to dedicate at least a few moments of our day to honour our creator, the one who gives us everything we need and never fails to be there for us all when we need him most.

So I encourage you all to give up a few moments of your own day this Lent.  You can give up Netflix too (that's what I gave up last year :D), but also think about how amazing it would be to grow closer to God over the next 40 days.

I hope you all had a great Ash Wednesday!

A.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Habits.


Hi.

In my search to pursue happiness and pursue my goals, I looked up different ways people studied and lived their daily lives.  There was one common variable among all of these generally happy people.  How did they all build good such well-rounded lives? They developed habits.

A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary, according to the definition on Dictionary.com.

This is crucial because small habits, small consistent actions are what develop a person.  Once we formulate something as a habit, we no longer have to spend energy making the choice to do that action and we have more energy to make better-informed decisions on more important things in our lives, this is all part of the will-power theory.  You can find more information about the willpower theory through the American Psychological Organization: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx

So, how do we create habits? How can we use our bodies natural ability to form habits to our advantage? Why are habits so important?

We create habits through constant repetition.  We can use habits to make tasks such as studying, exercising, healthy eating, easier for our bodies and seem like less of a daunting task.  Habits are crucial because every small act, every choice, every single decision will build our character and eventually who we are as people.  Habits can be good or bad. Our ability to manipulate good habits and remove bad habits is what makes them so important.

It takes time to build an action into a habit.  But if we can take that time to help us develop something that will benefit our future, why not?

If you're interested in learning more about habits and research conducted on the subject I recommend the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

A.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Biomedical Engineering


Hey!

I decided to begin my school and study posts writing about my major and my first semester of college.  There is not much information available on my major unless you go looking for it so I felt it appropriate to discuss being a female in the STEM field.

So I am an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering.  Biomedical Engineering (BME) is the implementation of engineering principles into the medical field.  The field of BME is extremely broad and can range anywhere from building prosthesis to wearable sensors to cellular engineering.  Many of the medical technology such as MRI as well as the heart rate monitor on a smart watch are all considered part of BME.

Currently, I have only completed one semester of college and therefore have only completed one class under BME.  Fall semester I took six classes: chemistry, chemistry lab, calculus, two honors courses, and intro to BME.  The majority of my studies consisted of chemistry, calculus, and MATLAB.  One of the major things about engineering that many people tend to forget is that it is not only a science based field but a technology based field.  Coding and computer simulations and laboratory work make up a great deal of your time and efforts.

My first semester of college was all about transitioning for me.  I wanted to focus on building good study habits and having a stable foundation in terms of my academics.  One of the most important things I did was waking up early and going to the library every single day.  Even if it is just staying at the library to read a book or watch a YouTube video, make it a habit to go somewhere that you can focus.  This way when the end of the semester comes and you're stressed, you won't have to waste your willpower on going somewhere to study (I will be doing a post on habits later on).

Otherwise, I did not become incredibly involved in any organizations until this semester simply because it was difficult to try and keep up a new schedule whilst accommodating to commuting and balancing everything.  I kept it simple and just focused on school for the first semester while I got accustomed to everything.  If you're going into your first semester, I strongly suggest that you do the same because it will be worth it in the end.

I apologize for the long post but I felt it important to discuss all of this because university is an important step in anyone's life and not many people know about what I am currently studying.  I hope you all have an awesome day and if you have any specific requests/suggestions/concerns just leave them in the comments below.

A.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Patience.



Hey!

So patience is not one of my strong suits. I want what I want and I want it now.  But, life has taught me that my plan is no match to that of the Lord's plan. 

We often think that we have everything figured out, or that because others are moving at a different pace than you that it is better, or that everything we have must be better than it already is. I am most definitely someone who has dealt with all of these feelings and has battled with life because it is not going where I want it to go.

You may be thinking, after months of not hearing anything on this blog, I am suddenly coming back talking about these abstract subjects that have nothing to do with fashion or beauty. Well, life took a turn for me.  Sometimes you must isolate yourself from toxic relationships and negative influences to truly hear God and His message to you.  That is what happened to me my first semester of university.  I wasn't "lonely", but I was alone and all I had to comfort me was prayer and simply listening because there was nothing else I could do.

On that note, I want to encourage you all to really focus on practicing patience.  Be still and just listen.  This doesn't mean you have to stop working towards your goals or go off into the desert and isolate yourself completely.  But try asking Him to guide you, guide your life, show you where He wants you to go.  I seriously struggled with this, with the idea that I could trust my life to someone I never personally met. It is difficult because everything seems so vague and there will be so many temptations that stir you away but stay firm in your faith.

In this world, people often move too fast and miss the little moments.  Those little moments, those small pockets of peace are where God speaks to you. I challenge you to slow yourself down in a world where speed is seen as something essential.  Don't drive so fast to work, just leave your house a little early.  Don't rush to finish your paper, start it the moment your professor assigns work. Don't anticipate getting everything you want the exact moment you want it because God will give it to you when you truly need it most.

I am officially back.  God has placed it in my heart to write my story, write my lessons, write about my life.  I will be writing about faith but also about university, beauty, and fashion as well.  I don't know what purpose this will serve or whether it will help someone, but I truly hope that someday someone reads this and is comforted to know that struggling is only part of life and that everything, absolutely everything can be resolved by simply having faith and being patient through your trust in the Lord. 

A.

Friday, January 26, 2018

How Do YOU Define Success

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Hello!

So recently, I watched a video on YouTube by Gabriel Conte describing his reasons for thinking he is successful and how he became so successful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmQTyuQWJBc

This video really got me thinking, how do I define success in my own life and how does my definition of success alter the way I view my life.  Success, as many people think of it, is reaching a point of great wealth and popularity.  Yet so many of these wealthy "successful" people fall into negative habits, depression, and some even commit suicide.  Conte describes his success in terms of the relationships he has developed and the effort and time he has placed into those relationships in order to allow them to flourish.

I fell in love with his view of the world.

No, this does not suddenly make me the world's most positive person. No, I am not enlightened. No, I am not perfect.

But, my perception has shifted.

Success is not a one-size fits all.  We all measure success based on our own accomplishments and our own goals.  The main idea around this video and this post is that success does not equal wealth but rather how you take in all the blessings in your life and take advantage of those blessings in a positive manner.  Life is a great culmination of our actions and it really requires all of our efforts to reach a point of ultimate success.

So I ask, how do YOU define success?  Does your malformed definition of success make you out to be less than you are? Can you modify success to fit your life? If you have yet to reach success, can you modify your goals to attain realistic, true success?

A.