Five Quick Reminders to Make Life Better

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Summer is finally here. Wait, let me say that one more time because that just felt too good. Summer is finally here. After a long, long winter in the northeast coast, I now dare say we’re pretty much out of the woods.

Right now there’s a lot of wheels in motion and I’m excited for what’s coming up next for me. I don’t want to say I’ve been slacking with posts (since I am trying not to be too hard on myself) but I do want to get back to the swing of things. Again, there’s a lot going on, so bear with me.

Below are some things that have been on my mind recently. I can’t always follow my own advice properly, but maybe this can help someone else out.

  1. Everyone has a struggle – Whether they share it or not, everyone has something they’re fighting for or against. You may not be aware of it, but it’s so important to keep that in mind when you are meeting new people or even catching up with old friends and colleagues. Be mindful, but don’t worry too much on being a mind reader, people will share what they want to share and you need to be ok with that.
  2. Don’t be so quick to judge – I catch myself judging people way too often, I hate it. I’ll think things like “they are not doing anything with their lives” or “what are they thinking, that’s ridiculous” and honestly, I want to reduce those thoughts to the bare minimum. Come on, you know you have to indulge in at least some gossip to keep things fun. Still, at the end of the day, you will never know someone’s whole story so be kind when need be.
  3. You are your best advocate – Seriously, nobody is actually capable of fighting for you as much as YOU. Support is always great and hopefully something you have in your life, but at the end of the day, you are the only one that knows what you truly want. It’s a decision you need to make for yourself, nobody should tell you: “this is what YOU want”.
  4. Be grateful – So simple, right? Yet this little one always seems to slip by. You may think your life is a mess and that it’s all in shambles, but I am hoping you have at least one thing to be grateful for (just think about cheese if you’re running out of ideas).
  5. Don’t make excuses for fear – At times, we will walk away from things we want simply because of excuses we make ourselves. Why do we do that? Excuses are usually rooted on some sort of fear (says me, humble non-expert). It’s ok to feel fear when you’re working towards something big, it’s normal, no need to make excuses for it. Beware, don’t let fear make you want to create more excuses, those excuses will later turn into reasons to walk away from what you want.

Life is fun, it can be a mess at times (just see my room right now for quick reminder) but it’s always good at the end. Take a moment to think about what’s brewing on your life and keep the wheels turning.

Oh and please, PLEASE enjoy summer! * Insert peace sign emoji here *

– Photo and edits by Cristina Nogueras © –

A Quarter of a Century: Thoughts on Turning 25

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Here we are, one more year.

Older? Yes. Wiser? Surely hope so.

Today, I’m turning 25. It’s a weird age, in my opinion. You’re absolutely not a kid anymore, but you have a hard time admitting to yourself that you’re an adult. You’re not old, but you’re not super young either, or are you? It’s a confusing age.

It’s easy to freak out on life and aging, everybody feels differently and everyone has a strong opinion about it. To some I am still blossoming, to others I am ancient. I’m going to say that I’m actually excited about this in-between, silly age.

Some things to look forward to:

  • I can rent cars without any stupid fees, hooray!
  • I still have 5 years to decide what I want to be and where I want to be by the time I’m 30, that’s still a thing right?
  • Hmm, that’s all I can think of…

The thing is, turning 25 is not supposed to be a big deal. It’s just another year, right? For some reason, however, every year in your twenties holds special significance and shows you what you have been able to overcome and achieve. Life in your twenties is ever changing and it can be scary and exciting, all at once. I’m halfway through this roller coaster, but what does that even mean?

Some things I learned:

  • Waking up somewhat early is not the end of the world- There’s actually some beauty to waking up before noon on a weekend and beating the crowds for brunch
  • Sometimes you’re going to have do things by yourself- It might feel weird, but you shouldn’t say no to great opportunities just because you don’t want to go somewhere alone
  • If you don’t ask, the answer is always no- I’m still learning that one. I’ve seen people around me get what they want only because they’ve dared to ask. If you’re afraid that the answer is “no” you might be right, but then again, you might be wrong
  • Family is everything – At the end of the day, they’re the ones that are going to be there for you, even in distance. You may not always see things the same way, but love is stronger than everything else and you will get through it together
  • People are selfish and sometimes, it’s ok for you to be selfish too – This one is hard for me, my instinct tells me to make people feel happy and comfortable but there are a lot of people out there that don’t really care about other people and you need to learn that’s ok. There’s nothing you can do to change that, so try caring a little less about them
  • Your wonderful metabolism won’t last forever- Yes, sadly, this one is true. My stomach has been super rude lately, sending me signals that I shouldn’t be having so much cheese. At first it felt like the world was ending. Heck, it still feels like the world is ending, cheese is EVERYTHING
  • Find that balance between believing anything is possible and losing all of your faith in humanity- I find any of these extremes to be extremely annoying. What is that balance, you may ask? I have no damn clue. There are days that I want to conquer the world and then the next day I want to run away from it
  • Love is awesome and it’s complicated – Love just is, right? Well, love is one of the greatest ironies of life. It can be the most complicated, simple thing in the world and it still makes us go nuts. I hate when Big in Sex and the City says that, “at the end you just want to be with the one that makes you laugh.” I hate it so much I didn’t even want to include the quote, but it’s not too far from reality, even if I don’t like his character (yes, I said it). Life is full of adventures, obstacles, challenges and restaurants. Find someone to share all of these wonders with, someone who will carry you when you’re feet are killing you, someone you can push into the water just for fun, someone that makes you smile against all odds

Let me stop right there before I get to cheesy (mmm, cheese). Here’s to getting older, crossing more places off my bucket list, trying new things and enjoying every moment!

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I have a feeling this is going to be a good year, cheers to that!

 

Being Assertive & Humble

Our generation needs to keep learning. The people with the loudest voices and biggest mouths are the ones on the spotlight blasting their ideas and “knowledge” at anyone with eyes and/or ears. Seriously, I’m all for confidence and self-respect, but some people out there are way too entitled.

I have a love and hate relationship with the HBO show GIRLS, the last episode being more on the hate side. Hannah, the main character, is a writer and a little too entitled for my taste. She had been working at a big magazine in an advertorial position, was feeling creatively limited by her role and at a brainstorm meeting, she just snapped and got fired. She rambled on about how this job was basically making her rot, how her creativity was dead and so on. I found that SO rude and unprofessional. I am sorry, you may hate your job and you may feel trapped, but there is a difference between standing up for what you deserve and being an entitled little brat. Seriously, not cool.

There is a lot that we can learn from Hannah’s breakdown or little girl tantrum. We should certainly work towards fulfilling our passions, but success is also about having that perfect balance between being humble and being assertive.

Life is not easy, everybody knows that. I know she is a fictional character, but geez, I was pissed. I believe this character reflects what a lot of people in my generation act and feel like. We might need to make some adjustments and have more respect for each other. We are an awesome generation, don’t get me wrong, but we are setting ourselves for self-destruction if we keep streaming this line of fake success and self-proclaimed mavens.

Educate yourself, get some experience, be humble, stay grounded and please, oh please… just chill out for a bit.

Peace, Love & Diet Coke

 

Wanderlust problems and other itchy feet musings

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Once upon a time, I was blessed to call France my home. I would ride a bike to school, have lunch by the river, come home to a dog and a warm family and drink good, cheap wine with new wonderful friends.

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The thing about wonderful times is that they end, and as sad or exaggerated as it sounds, you never get them back. There’s something so bittersweet about it that I can’t help but smile. Sure, I could technically book a flight to France next week (I do have a credit card) but in reality it can never be the same. People and places change, but most importantly, you change as well.

That’s why we need to keep creating adventures, so you don’t miss the old ones that much. You will never get your old times back, but that is what makes them magical and timeless, the rarity and exclusivity of things that are gone.

It sure didn’t feel magical when I was stuck in my desk studying for a final exam, sad because I had ran out of money and my camera had broken. It sure was not exciting when I had to eat ham and cheese sandwiches for a week because I spent way too much money on my week at Spain, but once you leave and look back, it all sounds ironically perfect.

Sometimes things get even better when you have to look back to enjoy them. It’s almost risky though, to look back too often, as you tend to unconsciously edit the memories, add filters and suppress the mishaps (bike falls, broken cameras, hangovers, dry lunches, too cheap wines, boring lectures, train delays and scary flights).

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Still, you know you would do it all again and in your future attempts to somehow really do it all again, you will get new, exciting adventures that will keep the cycle alive.

Humans are never satisfied and our thirst can’t be quenched that easily, so let’s drink on.

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All photos taken by Cristina Nogueras © – Do not take without permission or credit

Things that I am tired of doing & other realistic musings on the new year…

I have a love and hate relationship with new year resolutions. On one side I think it’s good to take the time to look back on what you wished you had done and look forward to try to accomplish whatever is next on your list. I love making lists and I actually enjoy sitting down and jotting down my resolutions. On the other hand, I hate when I sound all full of cliches and end up being redundant with rolling unaccomplished resolutions that stare at me with a dubious look.

So before I post any resolutions or end of year happy thoughts, I wanted to share what I’m tired of and wish to somehow change for the new year. Come on, I know you can relate to some of these, so let’s feel guilty together and make a change.

  1. Criticizing everyone who does stupid stuff online – Sure, they look ridiculous, but why pain myself with embarrassment? It’s none of my business. It only wastes my energy. Have a good laugh and move on.

  2. Making excuses for myself – This means hitting the gym and being realistic about it. I’m not going to go every day, that just can’t happen, but if I’m paying a monthly fee that does not mean it equals a monthly visit.

  3. Saying that I’m going to hang out with someone and never coming through – This is not entirely my fault, it’s tricky for everyone. I do want to be able to make more time for people I care about. I need to stop being a “let’s do something soon” slut and start committing to concrete dates.

  4. Complaining about money – This might not stop entirely, but I figure if I have a good plan under my sleeve I won’t feel as miserable every time I need to have tomato soup for dinner.

  5. Caring about people that don’t care about me – Take it as you will, but it’s tiring. I care a lot about people and go out of my way to help people out and make sure they are happy. I’m tired of not being appreciated or at times, even acknowledged. I want to surround myself with people that care about something else besides themselves. This goes for #3 as well, why bother trying to meet up with someone who does not want to meet up with you? Not worth it.

  6. My milk going bad before I am able to finish it – Or any other food for that matter. I’m wasting money and creating false hopes of a full and yummy fridge. I can work on this, I believe in myself.

I figure if each year I leave a little bit of the bad stuff behind, I can make some progress in a few years, right? Life’s too short to carry negative stuff around, it’s like carrying your heavy suitcase through NYC public transportation.

Cheers!

5 Things I did NOT learn in college

It’s been a year and a half since I graduated college. Let me tell you, it was not the easiest of transitions. Doing the whole grown-up thing is not easy and every month when I have to pay my student loans I can’t help but think of all the things I did NOT learn in college. Sure, I got an awesome education, but sometimes it’s about the little things. I can keep a list going on forever, but here are a few of the things I did not learn in college.

1. Who to CC in an email – Carbon copying in an email is a hidden art (Yes, Carbon Copy is what CC stands for). It takes real skill to get it just right. When used properly, CC can become the sweetest form of passive aggressiveness you can use.

2. How to do my taxes – Seriously, I need to give away more money… why? Thank God for TurboTax. I would not have survived my first taxing season without it and would have probably ended up in jail.

3. How to manage people’s expectation of hanging out every single day – “I’m sorry, I can’t do happy hour every single day and no, I can’t hang out every single week with you either. I have other friends and honestly, we are not that close anyways.” It’s hard to stay in touch with people, even if they live in the same city than you do. There’s always a lot going on and even though you wish to meet up with people all the time, there’s just not enough time (or money). How do you manage people’s feelings and your sanity? I did not learn that in college either.

4. How to save money – Don’t let this one be confused with “how to eat frugally”, that one I got down in college pretty easily and I’m still practicing it today (thank you Campbell’s). I’m talking about straight up saving for life, like for puppies and stuff. I thank my lucky stars that I found Mint.com, keeping it real and crushing my wanderlust dreams one personal budget report at a time.

5. How to cope with 10 vacation days a year – This one is hard and honestly, I’m still working with it. Make the most of the weekends? Spread your vacations throughout the year? Print out a beach landscape for your desk? Not really sure what’s the solution for this one, suggestions welcomed.

Feel free to comment and add on more things to this list. I know college was great, but let’s face it: it’s a tough world out here.

Was Rome really built in one day? Is the world really my oyster?

Patience.

Patience is a virtue.

Patience is the science of peace.

Rome wasn’t built in one day. (How long did it actually take? Hmm.)

I’ve noticed that time is passing by quicker now that I’m established at work and it’s been a year and a half since I graduated college (seems so much more far away). That’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s great because I can see results faster in some areas of my life and things that I look forward to also arrive quicker. It’s bad because that means opportunities can also pass by too quick for me to notice them.

Right now I feel like the world is really my oyster, whatever that means. I want to embrace every single opportunity, yet I scramble to focus on finishing an article. I want to be a triple threat and I’ve realized that I need patience to be able to achieve everything and anything I’m currently thinking of.

Why am I so impatient?

I did not learn French in one day, it took four years worth of classes. Yet, I downloaded an application to teach myself German and I got frustrated after three days. What’s up Cristina?! Also, why German? No clue, just felt like learning German one day.

Patience.

That’s all I need. That’s why I keep writing here, overflowing these pages with my rambling thoughts and rookie photography attempts. Baby steps of a 23-year old, that’s what I should have called this blog.

Patience, young grasshopper, patience.