Valentine’s OOTD: Flower Among the Wilted

OOTD: Floral Dress – Forever 21 | Bag – Coach | Bracelet – Amazon | Shoes – Naturalizer

I kind of suck at being a blogger sometimes because technically, I should be providing some helpful advice about Valentine’s Day. However, I guess I’m not, because this post ends up going up practically on Valentine’s Day.

Florals are what I think of when I think of a Valentine’s Day outfit. But of course, it’s February, and while Dallas has been pretty temperate, all of the plants are still dead. So in a way, I was definitely the most colorful part of the shoot for this OOTD. Also, right now Forever 21 Valentine’s Sale is going on for 20% Off All Dresses! (2/9-2/14)

I could tell you that wearing a cute outfit and doing different make up will make your day more special, but in the end, it’s really about your mindset of your relationship. When you’re in a long-term relationship, you tend to overlook these things. Yeah, you might do romantic things together on these types of holidays, but if you think about it, you could be doing these things everyday. And before, at one point, maybe you were doing these things everyday.

It’s the honeymoon phase. You are conscious of the work you need to put into the relationship to win your significant other over. You are infatuated with the other person. You do absolutely everything together.

And for me personally, my husband and I were in a pretty long honeymoon phase. I’m sure people assumed once things cooled down we would be divorced since we were married young. And marriage is a challenge….but what I’ve noticed is that the love evolves.

It starts out as a crush, right? Then an infatuation. Then as time goes by, years pass and the love ferments, like a good wine, into something deeper, richer, and more like a family element that you don’t have in the beginning. You are in love with every part of them, but more now so in a way that you would show it in subtle ways. Love is now doing the dishes, canceling a work meeting to be with them, decorating a plate of food for them before it’s served. It’s staying up late talking them through their problems, learning to accept their faults, changing yourself to become a better person for them. Learning how to inspire each other.

And if you are single on Valentine’s Day, just be comfortable in your own skin, knowing that you are working on yourself. I think even for people in relationships, that is good to remember. If you’re not good to yourself, you won’t be able to make someone else as happy as you could.

I guess that could translate into dressing yourself well, couldn’t it? So dress well, eat well, and spark your confidence, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day, whether you are single or in a relationship.

Happy Love Day!

Nicoco

 

Humans Need Humans

  

I am an INPF in the Myers-Briggs test. I like to be alone, and I generally find it exhausting to interact with people. And I’m happy being alone in nature. 
But what I’ve realized is that you cannot avoid the human emotions, interactions and exchanges because people shape who you are. Experiences are memorable because of the feelings you experience with other people. You can’t be an island; you must find a way to work the compassion for other human beings into your day. Especially because you don’t know what’s going on with other people. A single interaction can change someone. 
While I day dream about the distance of blue, the places I can see but never travel to, I have also realized that without telling other people about these feelings, I would never feel the warmth of sharing ideas and finding understanding. Understanding is everywhere; you will find it. Even if you think nobody understands you, or if you think your life has no purpose, you find that it does. 
Human minds are conditioned to think they are ugly, the human mind is corrupted. We forget that compassion and purpose is contagious, spreading like a wildfire once we are shown it. As life unfolds, you will find your purpose. But that might only be realized through human interaction. 
Keep your mind and heart open. It’s far more dangerous to be closed and never know than to be hurt and learn to be strong enough to have the courage to get back up and continue. 

Weekend Diary: Adventures with You

Dear Ice,

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I’m glad we found each other. There’s no one I’d rather wander this Earth with…

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Through all of the difficult times, you’ve supported me…

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You’ve lifted me up to continue to find my dream…

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We’ve laughed so hard together…

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And we understand each other’s silences….

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I’m sorry because I’m not a perfect wife…. But I promise I will try ever day to be there for you….

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Think of all the places we still have to discover…

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This Earth is so vast….

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I hope I can always make you smile the way you make me smile….

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And that we’ll still be able to enjoy food together without getting unhealthy….

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Thank you for taking care of me…

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And for staying with me through all of this time…

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Here’s to many more adventures.

Sincerely,

Your wife.

 

OOTD: Jacket – Forever21 | Yoga pants – Victoria’s Secret | Purse – Calvin Klein

Goodbye 

I need to let you go. 

You’ve slowly chipped away at my life, and you’ve damaged who I am. You’re impossible to forget. I think about you all day, I see you everywhere. Whenever I’ve tried to let you go in the past, I always come back to you. I love you, but I really hate you. 

You’ve given me acne, made me gain weight, messed with my hormones and you’re hiding everywhere. 

I’m detoxing my life from you. 

I’m sorry, but I have to let you go, sugar. 

  

Faith in People

  
I really hate people sometimes. Most of the time I’m indifferent towards others. 

If I trust you, you should feel special, because it takes a super long time for me to like and trust people. When I accept someone as a friend, it’s usually very serious for me. Most of the time, I am a pretty bad “friend” unless we’re close friends. I don’t answer texts quickly, I don’t show up to invites, and I don’t go out of my way. It’s just because I’m selfish, but also I don’t like dealing with the small talk and I don’t like worrying about other people’s problems if I don’t feel like they are worth investing in. Harsh, but true of me. 
Complete strangers are a different story. On the days I remember, I try not to judge, and I try to be nice. But for most of the time, I’d rather be left alone from groups of people I don’t know and if I pass someone in the hallways, I’ll be stressing out about whether to stare at the floor or to acknowledge their existence with a “hello.” And in public places, I tend to assume everyone is rude, so I don’t care so much about my resting bitch face. 

I empathize best through written word of strangers. The Humans of New York website always gets me because I see an individual’s story without knowing them in person. I don’t judge them by their actions because I haven’t met them; I only see what they have said in their interview. I think I tend to only empathize with people who open up to me, even if unintentionally through writing. Of course, you can lie when writing, but usually it’s more concrete when something is written down. It’s a written statement. 

But for the few who know me for real, the few who I’ve followed through with, who I’ve dedicated time to, you know who you are. I will go out of my way to help you even when I’m struggling myself. I will be loyal. And I will strive to always see the good in you no matter what happens. And I hope that I can be more open like this with new people, not just close friends and family. 

We are all human; we are not perfect. But I wish I could generally see the good more than the bad as I do now. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find the parts where I can connect with. And it’s not anyone’s fault but myself. 

16 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

 

1. Money is actually really important. 

The world always promotes the philosophy that money is “not important” or that money equals greed. And when you’re younger, you might think you won’t care so much about money anyway when you’re an adult.

Suddenly, you’re 22 years old, paying $600 in rent, on top of paying a car payment, student loans, and scavenging for food as you were in college. Money is important. Gaining the ability to know how to acquire more of it is also important to your well being. The more you have, the more you can give. You might not be able to spare a dollar to a homeless person when you’re drowning in debt, but when you have abundance, you can freely give.

2. You will most likely not have your sh*t together yet, and you won’t know exactly who you are, even when you are in your adult years. 

When you’re a teen, you think you are going through growing pains. You think you are having trouble understanding who you are. And you tend to imagine you will be living an organized and incident life when you hit 25. But in reality, most of the self discovery unravels more into your twenties, and beyond. You will understand that there is no such thing as having the perfect life; you will always be failing, learning, and trying to understand life. When you get older, you just have to accept this and embrace the fact that life is full of surprises.

3. You should learn cooking in your teenage years.

We always avoid doing things that are done for us already. Parents usually force kids to clean, so they learn how to clean, but not enough grow into adulthood knowing how to make an omelette. Girls and boys should know how to cook. Learning what goes into you food and how it’s prepared is a huge part about understanding your health. It might not seem important when mom is cooking dinner for you, but when you live on our own and you end up either eating out or eating packaged foods everyday, your health and mood will suffer.

Learning to cook at an early age builds independence and confidence. It will save so many problems from happening. It can prevent you from having health problems, prevent you from wasting money, and also can prevent you from starving!

 

4. Breakfast is actually really vital for the rest of the day. 

High school breakfast usually consists of a granola bar, or a pastry, or nothing at all. And you can pull this off when you’re young with a faster metabolism and higher energy, but when you hit your twenties, it really starts to affect your whole day when you skip breakfast. You feel lethargic and grumpy.

The solution is to slowly form a habit of eating a nutritious breakfast. Drink a whole glass of room temperature water right when you wake up, and then when you eat, eat something nutritious, like oatmeal, fruit, a croissant, eggs, soup, or a green smoothie. Don’t eat a pastry alone; your insulin will spike and you will feel hungry and tired in about an hour after eating. You can develop eating habits that could create diabetes or prevent it, based on what you eat for breakfast.

5. There are depths of emotion you never knew possible.

You may think you’ve already felt the most pain you can feel, or that you’ve fallen in love. And sometimes it’s true. But most of the time, we underestimate the unknown. There are so many of the best moments in your life that haven’t happened. So many depths of emotion induced by experiences that you cannot even imagine. And although this also includes the sadness and anger, it’s extraordinary to realize that life has got even more in store for you.


6. Little annoyances do not need to impact your life if you don’t let them

If you give energy to things that annoy you, they become a problem. When you’re younger, sometimes you aren’t sure what’s important, and you can easily get caught up in things that don’t matter. Other’s opinions, social pressures, and trying to be “good.” It’s extremely hard to ignore because you want to feel important, loved and accepted.

It’s still a struggle when you get older, but you tend to finally just start not caring as much, but only because it’s tiring. “You cannot please everyone; you are not Nutella.”

7. Innovation is much more important than simply getting a degree

It’s definitely a good step forward to go to college for a degree in something that you can invest your time in and still love at the end of the day. But it’s not the only path. When you are a teen, you are forced to make these huge decisions about the path for the rest of your life, and there are definitely certain paths you are pushed into. High school prepares you for college, and nowadays, many do attend college right after high school.

But if you are not sure about what you want to do, take a year off. Let your mind wander. Ideas are the money makers these days. If you have a great idea, run with it. You are young enough to fail over and over and have minimal losses. Don’t go to college just because your parents want you to go; go only if you feel it’s what you want to do. And if you’re not sure, don’t rush into it.

8. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do to make it through, and you can’t think too much about it.

Mom and dad usually will help you do something if you cannot, or if you really refuse to do it. For example, how many times does your father end up doing your taxes for you just because it’s easier to simply file them instead of nagging you to do it and teach you while you complain. Same goes for cooking and doing laundry!

As you get older, you’ll realize that sometimes it’s easier to just do it and get through it rather than procrastinate. The best way to tackle this is to just do it and not to think too  much about it. If you think, you will give up before you start.

9. People are so much more complex than they might seem

Everyone has their own story they are living, and we will never fully understand each of them unless we lived in their worlds. It’s good to be aware of this when you are going through the world on your own, interacting with others. Sometimes we meet people at the worst times and days and we assume this is their personality. Understanding and being aware of other’s stories will help you understand that just because someone might have wronged you does not necessarily have anything to do with you. It might have been their own problem.

You will meet so many interesting people in this world, some who you will fall in love with, some who you will click with instantly, and some who you will continuously clash with, and even some who will do a little of both in your relationship. Just know that each has a story and every person is worth giving  chance.

10. It’s so much easier to consolidate your belongings are live minimalist

A typical teenage room has items sprawled all over the floor, bed, and desk. Piles of clothing, boxes of paper, old toys from when they were a child, and many other useless things just cluttering the room. And they wonder why their mind is always racing and distracted!

It becomes apparent that life is better lived simple as you move out of your parents’ house and have to find your own place. Want minimal messes? How about owning minimal belongings! Coordinate your outfits do you can easily mix and match.

11. The world is a messed up place, but people in general only become messed up from their environments, not because they are naturally bad people.

We all are born with innocence. Piggy-backing on number 9, everyone has their own story. Some are less fortunate, and while circumstances really don’t define a person, but they do bring out responses that might otherwise be hidden. For example, a person who is born into wealth and a good family may never see the ugly side of themselves who would otherwise be apparent if they had been born in an unsafe environment.

It might be optimistic, but giving people a chance to prove their true character is the only way to understand how people work in different situations. Sometimes as children we see the adult life as a messed up world. And it is, but it’s all in perspective.

12. Appreciate the little things; for someday you will find that the little things were actually the big things.

You want to grow up so quick when you’re young. Teens always want the freedom from their guardians so they can do whatever they want. They never dwell on the other side of it – the side where all responsibility falls on them and they have to suddenly take on everyday tasks they didn’t even know existed.

So when you’re free and being taken care of by your parents, appreciate it as much as you can! Don’t try to act older when you’re never going to be younger. Spend as much time as you can with family and friends. Cherish your high school days. And relax. The one thing that’s always unnecessary is stress.

13. If it won’t matter to you in six months, don’t waste your time worrying about it now.

On the topic of stress, we tend to think every problem is a big deal when we are younger. Even into our adult years we do this! But if the problem you are worrying about will most likely not have an impact on your life six months from now, don’t even bother giving it any time or thought. Worried about a speech you have for English class? Of course, it is natural to worry. One thing you can be happy about is that in six months, if you happened to mess up the speech, nobody will remember that you did.

Students often worry about grades, and yes, that will impact life six months from now. Try to focus on what you like about the subject rather than how you will ever learn that amount of information for the tests. But a lot of students also worry about relationships – and honestly, high school relationships usually don’t have the resources (having freedom from parents, living together, etc.) to be serious, so don’t take them too seriously (putting it above your future and grades).

14. Don’t incorporate coffee into your morning routine; it will rule you for life.

Coffee is very photogenic. And delicious. But to be honest, the addiction to caffeine will rule you into your adult years. It’s extremely hard to break this habit once you start. So when you’re in middle school or high school, try to make other habits. Drinking green tea rather than coffee is a great substitute, as green tea has many health benefits. But seriously, just don’t start with the coffee. Coffee is meant to be a once-in-a-while thing.

15. Your health will not always be in good condition; preventing is so much better than treating, so start when you’re young.

You know the junk food that you’re afraid will impact your life as an adult but you still eat it now since you have a high metabolism? Stop the cycle now. Add more healthy changes to your lifestyle while you are young, and you might just be able to avoid the college “freshman fifteen.” Learning about your food at an early age will help you be able to make decisions as an adult when you are at the grocery store buying your own ingredients. Understand the food labels and understand what your body needs. There are so many books and videos online regarding this topic, so information is readily available to learn now. Take care of your eyesight and your teeth as well. Anything you can prevent will save you so much trouble as an adult (especially when you start paying your own medical expenses!).

16. Confidence makes the difference.

It will get better. Right now you might feel insecure in how you look or what you are doing, but it will get better. People will become more mature about hiding their judgments about others, and as you get older, you will start to understand that everyone else is so wrapped up in their own lives that the way you look or the things they do are only a fleeting moment in their lives. And for the people you have with you who are important to you, they are with you for a reason – they already accept you for who you are! Don’t worry so much about confidence, it will come for you at the right time in your life. It’s always seems like the hardest thing to achieve, but in reality there is no one way to gain more confidence and self-esteem. It comes with maturity, experiences, and sometimes just randomly. You will find that someday, you won’t care about certain things and you won’t be scared to boldly be yourself anymore. And that’s the best feeling in the world.

 

OOTD:

Dress • Forever21

Creative Writing: A Moment of Thanks

You wake up slowly and see her sleeping soundly next to you. She’s everything you ever wanted, and you feel so lucky to have her here with you. Her skin is soft, her closed eyes look so relaxed. Her hair is fanned around her pillow and her arms are comfortably at her sides. It brings a smile to your face to see her sleeping like this because you know how hard it was to get to this point. 

Those jobs she had to take that were opposite to your schedule. The many late nights you spent together. The meetings with her parents. And all the summers you spent apart. 
You know in your heart you want her for the rest of your life. It’s just one of those things that makes sense, and not just in the moment; there is no doubt that however you may change, you’ll always love her. The sweet angel lying beside you. 
You pray that she will always be safe, always full of life. You want for her all of the happiness you can find in life. You feel compelled to give her everything you can give her. And because of it, you’re scared of what you could damage if you failed to provide and protect her. Because the worst thing that could happen is failing to make her happy. 
But in that moment before the sun has reached the window, that moment before she awakes and begins the routine of life, you just marvel in her essence and thank God for bringing her to you. 
And as you push a strand of hair behind her ear, she wakes and smiles lightly. 
What is love?

Having a Balance with Food: Introduction to Series

“Vivre de pain, d’amour, et d’eau fraîche.”

For a year now, I’ve been actively trying to understand food and the food industry. I’ve come to understand that America’s food industry is full of lies and hidden ingredients. I’ve come to know that it’s harder to eat real food, and it is the reason why we are so unhealthy. But I’ve also been through the struggles of trying to balance food in such a way that it doesn’t taste bad, break the bank or become completely unhealthy. It’s not a change of diet; it’s a change of lifestyle and mindset. I think that’s why it’s so hard for many of us to change our habits. We have to understand that it’s a mindset.

After reading Vani Hari’s book, The Foodbabe Way, and Mireille Guiliano’s book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, and watching endless videos on clean eating and healthy lifestyle, these are the ten things I think everyone can do to help nourish themselves without becoming complicated. Changes that can easily be implemented. 

The next ten posts will be a series of tips and tricks everyone can use to bring balance to their diet and become friends with food again. 

In addition, I will be keeping a daily food diary of what I eat just so I can actually get a picture of what my diet looks like. No restrictions of calorie counting. Just transcripting:
http://dayre.me/nicoco

Seven Memories

Life is made up of bits and pieces of fleeting events and feelings. The parts we remember the best aren’t necessarily the big event so much as the little things that got us there. So even though a married girl might focus on the wedding day memories on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to tell you seven early relationship memories that have nothing to do with our wedding day. 

1.) It was 5:03 AM. Her body was frigid as she lay next to him on the bed. Only a large pillow filled the space between them, and she felt a bit impressed with his ability to sleep perfectly sound next to a girl he barely knew.  Despite the awkward situation, she managed to find him a bit charming. His black hair was in a mess and he had a calm look to his face. She tried to sort out her feelings for him as she buried back into the sheets and prepared herself for a sleepless night. 
2.) You know you’re with someone special when they can make you forget the pain, forget where you are or remind you that life is more than just a constant struggle. They were young and they could stay up until 3 AM every night. She felt something starting between them as they drove through the starry night. They would drive often. Drive far, to close paces, drive anywhere as long as they were together. 
3.) One of the greatest things she admired about him was his skill with the piano. His fingers would fly across the keys and a beautiful and rich sound would fill the room. She would lay against a pillow on the couch as he played her an endless concert of songs. The one she loved the most was called “Wind Crest.” And on the day he had to leave, she heard that song repeating itself through her mind, filling her thoughts with his smile, and she could feel the saddest pain in her heart. 
4.) She was back in school. He was thousand of miles away. They would talk on the phone randomly, whenever they could find the time. But the phone and internet connections were terrible and they both knew the relationship would fail if it were long term. There was a week he was so annoyed that he wouldn’t talk to her for a week. He would pick up the phone, but be silent for hours as she waited with a sinking heart. 
5.) It was the greatest feeling in the world. Flying high above the clouds, seeing the rice paddies below in the sunrise through the thick air. She knew in only an hour’s time, she’d be with him again. It was the feeling of life. Hard to explain, but it’s the difference between just living because you exist and living because you can feel life within every aspect of your body, soul and mind. 
6.) It’s one of those things you just can’t think about. She got on the motorcycle and held on as tight as she could. The wind flying through her hair felt like freedom. For the first few times, she feared death and accidents, but by the end of the first week, she was riding sitting sideways in a miniskirt, only barely holding onto the back of his shirt as they flew down the highway to the Night Safari. She felt like one of the local girls and it was great to fit in his country. 
7.) The whole concept of the holiday was strange to her. Throwing water at people seemed almost rude. But her main problem was her skin. During her three months in his country, she’d developed acne, and if she was going to have water thrown in her face all day, how could she compete with the other girls out on the street who had perfect skin? They fought about it because she did not want to get her face wet. She couldn’t understand why he’d want to be with a girl like her, when there were plenty of beautiful women in his country. Why her?
Those were before we got married. Of course after we were married, the struggle did not end, although immigration and being apart for long periods of time ended. We went through a lot of firsts together: buying a car, cleaning out mold, having a fly infestation, learning how to cook, going to Boston, doing taxes, moving three times, and many other ridiculous things. 
But what makes it special is remembering why you liked each other in the first place. 

And learning how to choose each other over and over again as you change.